Hassan Sunny came on in the second half against Mauritius to earn his 75th international cap for Singapore and is gunning to reach centurion status as well as hold off Izwan Mahbud’s challenge for a starting spot.
Both stoppers have been in superb form this season in Thai League 2 with Hassan donning gloves for Army United while Izwan plays for Nongbua Pitchaya.
Despite his seniority over his counterpart, Hassan is not taking anything for granted as he aims to continue his reign as the Republic’s numero uno for the upcoming 2018 AFF Suzuki Cup.
“This is our first time playing under Fandi (Ahmad) and both of us had playing time after such a long time away from international duty,” Hassan told FOX Sports Asia.
“I’m very happy personally because it is not easy for a goalkeeper to reach 75 caps, especially in this region.
“I was out for two years because of my ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) injury and people told me I’ll never play football again but I’ve proved them wrong.
“Now for me to reach this landmark is a great achievement but I want to go for more if given the opportunity. I’ll do everything to don the gloves for Singapore and try and reach the 100-cap mark.”
The battle to be Singapore’s starting custodian has been a fierce one between Hassan and Izwan for the past few years and it was a similar case for Hassan when he first broke into the national team, where he had to go up against Lionel Lewis in the national team.
While the Army United man is looking to fortify his position as the Lions’ top choice in between the sticks, Hassan reckons Izwan’s presence is a positive one to ensure both of them head into every game in peak form.
“Izwan is not a young goalkeeper anymore and he has been playing regularly in the Thai League this year,” he added.
“We are both going for the same target and I want to start at the Suzuki Cup but I also need him to do that.
“Izwan and I are teammates after all and I need to push him to his limits while he does the same for me too. End of the day, this healthy competition is important if we are to be at the top of our game for the Suzuki Cup.”
With Fandi seemingly keen to assess his goalkeeping options further before making a decision for the Suzuki Cup, it will be an interesting battle for fans to see which of the two stoppers come out tops at the showpiece event.