Mahler in line for Singapore debut as Fandi promises four to five changes

Singapore midfielder Jacob Mahler
Kelvin Leong Kelvin Leong

Fandi Ahmad is likely to hand Jacob Mahler his international debut when Singapore take on Fiji in an international friendly on Tuesday evening at the Bishan Stadium.

The 18-year-old was a surprise inclusion in Fandi’s 26-man squad for the Mauritius and Fiji matches but has done enough in training to play his way into contention for a starting berth.

He is likely to partner Hariss Harun in the middle of the park while Baihakki Khaizan or Irfan Fandi join Safuwan Baharudin in central defence.

Fandi admitted that he will tinker with the lineup and make “at least four to five” changes from the 11 who started the Maurutius game.

“We’ve seen enough of some players and we hope to give others a chance,” the Lions head coach said.

“Some senior players who didn’t play (against Mauritius) will start, but the result is important (as well)… Everyone must know their role and they must play for the team.”

Hassan Sunny and Izwan Mahbud are likely to swap roles as the more experienced goalkeeper will probably start the game while third-choice stopper Zaiful Nizam could come on to win his second cap for Singapore.

There are also talks of Zulfadhmi Suzliman keeping his place in the 11 after a stunning debut for the Lions while Gabriel Quak, Zulfahmi Arifin, Shahdan Sulaiman, Ho Wai Loon, Khairul Nizam and Hami Syahin are all in line to get some playing time as Fandi seems keen to ensure every player gets a runout at some point.

Haiqal Pashia, who was called up as a replacement for the injured Iqbal Hussain will also be included in the matchday squad.

It remains to be seen if Fandi will bring Shahril Ishak into the lineup to play alongside Ikhsan Fandi or try out Khairul Amri in attack.