Stange vows to attack Juventus
National coach Stange says he won't park the bus against Italian champions
The game is a little over two weeks away, but national coach Bernd Stange is already preaching a simple tactical mantra for his Singapore Selection side's glamour friendly against Juventus in a glamour friendly on Aug 16.
"It is simple: we must attack, but we cannot open up defensively. That's the simple plan for the game," the German told The New Paper yesterday, hours after he unveiled his 21-man squad for the match.
"Fans need to understand that we will mostly play with players who will be available for the AFF Suzuki Cup, and we will be facing superstars, but I want to see confidence, and signs of attacking football.
"We will definitely not 'park the bus'."
The former Iraq and Belarus coach named three non-Singaporeans in his squad.
They are Home United's French utility man Sirina Camara, and Warriors FC attacking duo, Argentinian Nicholas Velez and Croat Miroslav Pejic.
Warriors Coach Alex Weaver has been recruited to join Stange's coaching team, who will also include Fandi Ahmad and Aide Iskandar.
"One thing has been made clear to me, this is not a game where we look forward to swopping shirts at the end, we're focused on the match, and the result," said Englishman Weaver.
"There is of course a purpose to the game, to prepare the national team for the Suzuki Cup."
Singapore are defending champions of the regional tournament held at the end of the year and, after facing Czech side Brno and Russian teams Torpedo Moscow and Dinamo Moscow on their recent training tour to Austria, Stange is looking forward to playing even tougher opponents.
"We were building up by playing those teams, then taking on Juventus.
"But after this match, we must slow down, and come back to our level in South-east Asia, and we will play games against teams like Hong Kong," said Stange, who revealed that rules of the friendly, including the number of substitutions allowed, have not been discussed.
The game will take on extra significance, not just because Juventus are the reigning Serie A champions and have promised to bring their best side here.
The match will be the first football game to be played at the 55,000-capacity stadium, which is the centrepiece of the $1.33 billion Singapore Sports Hub at Kallang.
While Stange believes facing the likes of Andrea Pirlo, Carlos Tevez and Paul Pogba will be great preparation for the Suzuki Cup, his plan to get his team battle ready has hit a snag.
The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) have made changes to the Malaysia Cup schedule, which will now kick off on Aug 13, with the final on Nov 8.
As LionsXII - the stable for the majority of national players - are participating in the competition, Stange's squad for the Juventus game will most likely only come together two days before the match.
"They (FAM) have made nine changes to the fixtures and that has created a whole new situation, but we have no choice but to find a way," said Stange, who revealed that he has secured permission from Johor Darul Ta'zim to release national captain Shahril Ishak and vice-captain, Hariss Harun for the game.
"I remain optimistic, and Malaysia has been very cooperative with us, which is why I don't complain.
"We will look to find a way."
GOING FOR GOALS: Singapore Selection coach Bernd Stange will be relying on the likes of promising local striker Sahil Suhaimi and the foreign firepower of Nicholas Velez (above, left), Miroslav Pejic (above, right) against Juventus.
S'pore selection squad
Goalkeepers: Izwan Mahbud (LionsXII), Hassan Sunny (Warriors FC)
Defenders: Baihakki Khaizan, Safuwan Baharudin, Afiq Yunos, Shakir Hamzah (all LionsXII), Al-Qaasimy Rahman (Courts Young Lions), Shaiful Esah (Tampines Rovers)
Midfielders: Gabriel Quak, Zulfahmi Arifin, Shahfiq Ghani, Faris Ramli (all LionsXII), Hariss Harun (Johor Darul Ta'zim), Shahdan Sulaiman (Tampines Rovers), Iqbal Hussain (Courts Young Lions), Sirina Camara* (Home United)
Forwards: Shahril Ishak (Johor Darul Ta'zim II), Khairul Amri (LionsXII), Sahil Suhaimi (Courts Young Lions), Nicholas Velez*, Miroslav Pejic* (both Warriors FC)
* foreign players
S’PORE SELECTION V JUVENTUS
Cat 1: 10,000 seats — $180
Cat 2: 10,000 seats — $110
Cat 3: 16,000 seats — $70
Cat 4: 16,000 seats — $45
*For patrons under 16 years of age, tickets are priced from $30 to $45. Prices do not include promotional discounts. Tickets can be purchased at Sports Hub Tix (www.sportshubtix.sg).