Singapore to lock horns with Indonesia in U-23 friendly

Gabriel Tan Gabriel Tan

Singapore will host Indonesia in an Under-23 friendly on March 21 as part of a new initiative to make the National Stadium “the Home of the Lions”.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed on Wednesday morning between the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) and SportsHub Pte Ltd, which will see seven matches played per year at the 55,000-seater National Stadium until 2020.

The first four for 2018 will take place next month with a highlight being a U-23 friendly between Singapore and regional rivals Indonesia on March 21.

After an absence due to a FIFA-imposed ban, the Indonesians have made an impact since their return to the international stage with the senior national team remarkably reaching the final of the 2016 AFF Suzuki Cup, while the U-22s won the bronze medal at last year’s Southeast Asian Games.

The friendly could feature a host of famous names from Merah Putih, including Evan Dimas, Ilham Armaiyn and Ryuji Utomo, who are all currently plying their trade overseas.

Meanwhile, the Singapore U-23 side will be coached by national legend Fandi Ahmad, who will also be in charge of the Garena Young Lions in the S.League this coming season.

The three other matches will see Singapore take on Maldives in a men’s and women’s senior international on March 23 and 5 respectively, before the domestic Singapore season kicks off on March 31 with the Community Shield clash between Albirex Niigata (S) and Tampines Rovers.