Shahril and Shahfiq should be playing for Singapore, says Philippe Aw

Hougang midfielder Shahfiq Ghani
Kelvin Leong Kelvin Leong

Hougang United head coach Philippe Aw reckons Shahril Ishak and Shahfiq Ghani should be in the Singapore national team.

One has been in red hot form since the start of the 2018 Singapore Premier League with five goals in as many games while the other helped himself to a hat-trick of assists on Wednesday night.

Home United’s Shahril Ishak and Hougang United playmaker Shahfiq Ghani were inspirational for their respective teams in a thrilling 3-3 encounter at Hougang Stadium where the Protectors took a two-goal lead only to be pegged back by a late Hougang fightback.

Shahril provided the assist for Song Ui-young’s opening goal before scoring his team’s third goal while Shahfiq provided all three assists for Hougang to cap off one of his best performances in awhile.

Shahfiq who has been beset by injuries finally found his rhythm after his previous three league appearances this season and was a constant menace to the Home defence.

Despite his team’s inability to end their winless streak, Hougang tactician Philippe Aw was stoked to see his midfielder finally come good to show his full potential.

“I’m very happy for Shahfiq, he completed 80-plus minutes and got three assists. We all know he’s capable of that and I want him to keep going like this,” Aw told the media after the game.

“He’s another one with brains like Shahril, who should be in the (Singapore) National Team. Next up for us is Albirex, who started the season on fire and dominated every game. But anything can happen in football and I believe we can go there and get a result to kick-start our season.”

HIGHLIGHTS: SPL – Hougang United 3-3 Home United

What a game at Hougang Stadium! Home United Football Club let slip a two-goal lead to allow Hougang United Football Club (HGFC) to snatch a point in their 3-3 Great Eastern-Hyundai Singapore Premier League draw on Wednesday.

Posted by FOX SPORTS Asia on Wednesday, 2 May 2018


As for the player himself, Shahfiq refused to take the plaudits but admitted that this was his best performance since joining Hougang from Geylang International in the off-season.

“Absolutely. This was the best game this season for me and I’m happy because the team played well and followed the coach’s game plan,” He told FOX Sports Asia. “I feel satisfied to have provided the assists for our three goals but let’s not forget that it is down to the hard work from the entire team and that amazing support from the Hougang Hools.

“We came back so well because we were determined to end our winless streak. We started the game well and had a few chances but the ball just won’t go in. I feel that I could have done more for the team by scoring from one of the three free-kick opportunities I had.

“There were all from my favourite spot (25 yards to the right of the box) but all in all, it is a good night based on our team performance and the way we fought all the way till the end. I can only keep pushing myself to do more of the same and see where it takes me from there.”

With the 2018 AFF Suzuki Cup draw concluding on Wednesday afternoon, Singapore will go into the tournament housed in Group B alongside reigning champions Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines and Brunei or Timor Leste.

The Lions are without a chief after V. Sundram Moorthy stepped down last month and the next coach to take the reins will surely be looking at this performance by Shahril and Shahfiq before he names the squad for the upcoming national team camp in preparation for the biennial event.