Off to Japan for a jolt
Aide wants to forge teamwork and cohesiveness in week-long camp
The objective is a simple one.
Create an environment in which the team live and breathe football and focus their minds on the task at hand - a spot in the football final of the South-east (SEA) Asia Games next month.
Aide Iskandar's national Under-23 squad leave today for Gotemba in the Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan, where they will play two friendlies in the week-long stint, against Japanese fourth division side Azul-Claro Numazu on Thursday and Shizuoka Sangyo University on Saturday.
This is the second phase of centralised training after the May 1-8 stint at the Singapore Sports School.
Assistant coach Kadir Yahaya believes the ground work has already been set.
"The players have started to understand and appreciate what is truly at stake," said Kadir.
"What is up for grabs is not just a place in the final 20, but also a chance to create football history for Singapore.
"You can see how that has focused their minds. They have been working very hard at training, and even going in hard in their tackles. It is a good sign."
The team will feature just 25 men - four players from the initial 29-strong squad will not travel to Japan.
Defenders Nurullah Hussein and Zakir Samsudin, and midfielders Muhaimin Suhaimi and Afiq Noor will be given individual training programmes to work on various aspects of their game.
But Aide (left) made it clear that no one has been dropped from the squad.
"When we come back from Japan, the four players will link up with us again for training," he said.
"During the final two weeks, I will assess everyone again and see how they fare in the friendlies (to be played in the week of May 18) we have lined up.
"Then I will decide on the final 20 players two days before the SEA Games."
Aide made it clear what he wants to see in Japan.
"We want to bring the boys overseas, to take them away from every kind of distraction, so we can maximise cohesiveness and teamwork among the boys," said the former Singapore captain.
"We want them to eat and sleep football, joke together to make them a tight unit."
THE SQUAD TO JAPAN
- Goalkeepers: Syazwan Buhari, Fasha Iskandar, Rudy Khairullah
- Defenders: Shakir Hamzah, Al-Qaasimy Rahman, Sheikh Abdul Hadi, Fadli Kamis, Amirul Adli, Irfan Fandi, Taufiq Muqminin, Ho Wai Loon
- Midfielders: Faris Ramli, Safirul Sulaiman, Stanely Ng, Anumanthan Mohan Kumar, Shamil Sharif, Adam Swandi, Shameer Aziq, Christopher Van Huizen, Suria Prakash, Pravin Guanasagaran
- Strikers: Shahfiq Ghani, Sahil Suhaimi, Iqbal Hussain, Amy Recha Pristifana
"Everyone has been encouraging one another at training and, during the internal match we had at the Geylang training field on Thursday, everyone was talking on the pitch, shouting out commands and instructions. It was great to see everyone working together."
- Under-23 captain Al-Qaasimy Rahman