New boys hungry to make impact

There are many new faces in the LionsXII this season. Sazali Abdul Aziz picks out the names to watch

Wilfred Skinner and Eric Paine were two Eurasians who played their way into the hearts of local football fans when they starred for Singapore during the Malaysia Cup heyday.

Skinner starred from 1953 to 1967 and Paine from 1968 to 1978, both as goalkeepers.

Winger Christopher van Huizen is hoping to follow in their footsteps.

Van Huizen (above) may not be a household name today, but if LionsXII coach Fandi Ahmad is to be believed, he could be in the near future.

Speaking to The New Paper earlier this week, Fandi claimed the 22-year-old, a new signing from the Prime League team of S.League giants Tampines Rovers, is a "raw diamond" who could surprise once the new Malaysian Super League (MSL) season kicks off tomorrow.

Van Huizen, though, is not getting carried away.

He said: "My main target is to get into the first 11 and, hopefully once I make it there, scoring goals and getting assists will be the next thing.

"I'm a step-by-step kind of guy.

"So for now I'll just try my best and work as hard as I can."

Van Huizen is one of eight new additions in Fandi's team for 2015.

Of those eight, defender Faris Azienuddin, 20, and midfielder Izzdin Shafiq, 24, have returned, after playing in V Sundramoorthy's MSL-winning LionsXII side of 2013.

Singapore internationals Shahdan Sulaiman, 26, and Sahil Suhaimi, 22, were roped in to add attacking flair to the team, although the former suffered a leg break at December's Suzuki Cup and will likely miss the entire season.

Third-choice goalkeeper Zharfan Rohaizad, 17, utility man Wahyudi Wahid, 25, and left-sided defender Zakir Samsudin, 21, are the other new faces.

Republic Polytechnic student Zakir is currently sidelined with a knee injury that will keep him out for about two weeks, but he is chomping at the bit to experience his first taste of MSL action.

"I was speechless when I was first told the LionsXII wanted to sign me," said the Liverpool fan.

"My main target is to earn a first team place as Hafiz (Abu Sujad) and I are the only natural left backs.

"If I get the opportunity to play, I'll give of my best and go all out to keep it."