Geylang International are looking to play party poopers and deny Young Player of the Year nominee Ikhsan Fandi and his Young Lions team from victory in a Singapore Premier League (SPL) clash at Bedok Stadium on Saturday.
Ikhsan was delivered the news just days ago about him being shortlisted for the award and he shared that it was one of his targets prior to the start of the season.
Agreeing that it was a huge boost to his confidence, Ikhsan is looking to do better going forward.
“I feel extremely honoured to be nominated! Before the season started, one of my goals was to win the YPOTY award,” he shared.
“Definitely (I am spurred on to do better)! Now I need to keep improving and hopefully I will get nominated for more awards in the future.”
This should be a warning for Geylang, given that Ikhsan has already plundered in seven goals and is in the mood for more.
The Eagles have had a woeful season which was beset by injuries and departures of several key players, including that of captain Anders Aplin who went on loan to play in Japan.
But many in the Geylang camp are refusing to buckle, with the chance to overtake the Young Lions still a possibility.
“Every game is tough and we take every game seriously. We don’t want to focus on any particular player but Ikhsan no doubt has a great season so far,” Geylang midfielder Ryan Syaffiq said.
“But we will try to outplay them and hopefully get the result that we want.”
Other young Eagles members echoed Syaffiq’s views, with defender Darren Teh calling on the squad to rally together in the absence of their seniors and provide a solid end to their season.
“Ikhsan is a good player for sure… we know he can definitely cause problems for us but there are also others in Young Lions that can do the same,” Teh said.
“But I’m sure if we stick to our own plan we can definitely get a positive result out of it.
“As professionals I think the aim for us is to definitely attain maximum points from our last two games and we know that we still have a chance to climb up one spot higher in the table so that’s definitely one form of motivation for us.”
A surprise return in the form of Fumiya Kogure will be music to Geylang’s fans. Club officials reported that the Japanese has recovered sooner than expected and might find himself among the bench.
Azhar Sairudin and Fuad Ramli will sit out this game through suspension though.
Young Lions midfielder Joshua Pereira will return from suspension and should take his place among a midfield littered with talents, with the likes of Hami Syahin and Saifullah Akbar all up for selection.
Geylang International FC: LDLLD
Young Lions: LDLWL
04/07/18: Young Lions 1-3 Geylang – Singapore Premier League
09/05/18: Geylang 1-1 Young Lions – Singapore Premier League
21/10/17: Young Lions 0-4 Geylang – Singapore Premier League
02/07/17: Geylang 2-1 Young Lions – Singapore Premier League
15/04/17: Young Lions 0-2 Geylang – Singapore Premier League
KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR:
Fumiya Kogure (Geylang International FC)
If the former Player of the Year has truly returned from injury, he will definitely be a threat with his mazy runs and pinpoint shooting.
Hami Syahin (Young Lions)
While Ikhsan has been scoring the goals, Hami has been pulling the strings in midfield. The diminutive midfielder cannot be overlooked in games like this, where the game will likely be decided by whom controls the midfield.
WHAT ELSE THEY SAID:
Geylang International midfielder Ryan Syaffiq: “To be honest, I am proud to be in this team. What we have gone through as a team in training, no one else knows but us, from pre-season until now. All those tough training sessions and games, we have to be proud of how we have fought and hopefully we can finish strongly as a team.
“The last two games we just hope to finish strongly. It would be a great achievement if we can get maximum points from both games.
“This season we have played Young Lions twice and beaten them once, before drawing with them once. This game is much more important though because if we beat them we can climb above them.”
Young Lions forward Ikhsan Fandi: “There are many good young players in the list and I am happy to be nominated alongside them. However, I do feel that I could have done better this season as I did not manage to reach my target number of goals.
“I think my teammates need to know that all of them have improved greatly. Even though some didn’t get as much playing time as others, you can definitely see in training that the players are getting better! Now let’s finish off the season on a high note by doing well in our remaining games!”