Team Singapore

No end in sight to scoring woes

It is one question which Fandi Ahmad has probably no answer to.

Just where will the goals going to come from?

The last time a LionsXII striker scored was when Khairul Amri opened the scoring with a 16th-minute goal in the 2-1 Malaysian Super League win over ATM FA on May 24.

You would have to go back to April 15 for the last time a LionsXII striker other than seven-goal Amri, out with a fractured cheekbone, has found the net - when Sufian Anuar poached a hat-trick in a 4-1 MSL win over Pahang.

The LionsXII have three other forwards - Shahfiq Ghani, Syafiq Zainal and Khairul Nizam - but none has found the net this season, as defenders and midfielders have contributed most of the 31 goals they scored in 26 games in all competitions.

It is definitely not for want of trying, but Sufian and Shahfiq just could not get their shots on target in the 14 attempts they had against Pahang last night.

Coach Fandi, a legendary goal predator during his heyday, was naturally frustrated.

He said: "Strikers are born, not made. But, other than Amri, we don't have that now. Sufian did his best, but we just couldn't score.

"Those who have the talent need to be polished until they can be of a high standard and can score consistently.

"Those who don't can also train to reach a decent level... the first touch and the sharpness... where they can also contribute goals. We just have to make do with what we have."

Sufian said: "It's frustrating and my heart aches when we lose. People criticise me when I don't score, but I know we all worked very hard and the ball still just won't go in.

"I can only say I'll keep working hard to improve on my finishing, give my best in training and, during games, keep my spirit up.

"We still have four games to go, and we will go all out to beat JDT II."

Winger Faris Ramli, who has contributed six goals in all competitions this season, added that the goalscoring burden should not rest solely on the strikers' shoulders.

The 21-year-old said: "We take responsibility as a team. With composure and some luck, I'm sure not just the strikers, but also the team will start scoring and winning."

- DAVID LEE