Singapore Football

Singapore have stars who can trouble Thais, says Sundram

The Thais could target Ismadi, but Stange has star names who can trouble Kiatisuk's side

I think it's a gamble to start Ismadi Mukhtar on the right side of defence in a big game like this.

The 30-year-old has done well in the last two friendlies against Laos and Cambodia, but facing Thailand in a tournament is something else.

I've only seen him play at left wingback for Tampines, and he has always struck me as being more of a winger, anyway.

But the coach probably knows better, and I'm sure he has his reasons if he does select Ismadi to start at right back.

HEADS, WE WIN?

This is the first game for both teams, so they will start cautiously.

A goal in the first half would open the game up.

Singapore must capitalise on set-pieces.

In Shaiful Esah and Shahdan Sulaiman, the Lions have the personnel to deliver good balls into dangerous areas. Then, it's up to the others to make those deliveries count.

MIDFIELD GENERAL

How Hariss Harun performs in midfield will be key.

He reads the game well and is strong and good in the tackle, and Singapore need that presence in the engine room, especially when you have dangerous Thai midfielders like Charyl Chappuis who can hurt you if you give them time and space.

Hariss has matured a lot since going to Johor Darul Ta'zim, and now he knows how to pace the game better.

His positional awareness and understanding have also improved.

He needs to be at his best and show leadership, fighting spirit and the ball-winning ability we all know he has.

BIG-GAME SHAHRIL

Apart from Hariss, captain Shahril Ishak will also be a big player for us.

It's not just because of his technical ability.

Sure, we all know about his vision and his ability to pick out a pass.

But, in a game like this, you also need experienced, seasoned campaigners. And Shahril is just that.

He can turn things around for his team when it's not going so good.

At the highest level, in the most important moments, he delivers.

And the Lions need him to be at his best again against Thailand.

AFF Suzuki Cup