These Lions are good
With so much experience, Sundram's side can be successful if they believe
Despite what critics say, I believe V Sundramoorthy has assembled a good Singapore team who can try to win this year's Suzuki Cup.
Of course, the first step is to qualify for the semi-finals from a tough group, but once you get to the last four, anything can happen.
It is not rocket science.
Any team that win their first game get the advantage in the group stage.
It's good that we are playing the Philippines in the first match.
As co-hosts who have big ambitions to reach the final, the pressure is on the Philippines.
They may be missing a few key players but that happens in football.
You can also say Singapore will miss the presence of Fazrul Nawaz up front.
Teams have to find ways around issues like injuries, suspensions and, in this case, the failure of clubs to release their stars, and the Philippines will have capable back ups.
The Philippines have been preparing for a long time since the last Suzuki Cup in 2014 and they've had some good results.
With players coming in from overseas, they have improved a lot in terms of a professional approach to the game.
They are now more results-oriented and on the pitch they are technically very good and possess a better physicality compared to other Asean teams.
As for the Lions, there is no big difference with my Suzuki Cup squads.
Hassan (Sunny), Baihakki (Khaizan), Daniel (Bennett), Shahril (Ishak) and (Khairul) Amri were in my 2004 squad. (Mustafic) Fahrudin, Juma'at (Jantan), Hariss (Harun) and Shahdan (Sulaiman) also played for me in the tournaments after.
You have seven or eight players who have played at least three Suzuki Cups, so there's a lot of experience in this team compared to the others.
Add to that the quality of younger players like Faris (Ramli) and Gabriel (Quak) and I feel Singapore have a good team.
Even though this is his first Suzuki Cup as national coach, Sundram worked with a number of the players when he was guiding the LionsXII for two years.
In my first tournament in 2004, there was a big difference because I brought in many new players.
At the time, the World Cup qualifiers were going on and I prepared for both tournaments simultaneously.
I was trying to put a team together and when we lost 1-0 to Japan, I was happy because I knew I had a team for the Suzuki Cup.
Results leading up to the tournament were poor and we lost matches. But I kept talking to the players and pushing them.
I told them they needed to believe in themselves, to have the confidence to play against anyone.
I always told them to go out and score goals and win regardless of the opponents, even if it was Japan.
In the long term, this benefits the team because it creates confidence.
I have not seen much of Singapore and I'm not in a position to talk about their strengths and weaknesses.
As for the hot topic right now about where Safuwan should play, I feel he is a natural centre back, based on my experience working with him.
But he is a talented footballer who can play in midfield as a box-to-box player, and Sundram has to decide.
I don't like to talk about any individual player.
Sure, any one player can have a good game and win a match, but it takes a team to win a tournament.
Thailand are obvious favourites, and I'd say the rest of the semi-final spots are up for grabs.
l Radojko Avramovic is the most successful national team coach in the history of Singapore football.
He led the Lions from 2004 to 2012 and won the AFF Championship in 2004, 2007 and 2012 to become the first and only coach to win the title three times.
- FOX Sports is proud to be the exclusive pay-TV broadcaster for the 11th edition of the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup. The biennial championship gathers Southeast Asia's top national teams to vie to be crowned kings of football in the region. FOX Sports will be showing all 18 games live on both its network and its online FOX Sports Play offering. Leading the team in the FOX Sports studio will be industry veteran Steve Dawson and former Singapore international John Wilkinson, with insights from former Suzuki Cup coaches, Steve Darby and record three-time title-winning coach, Radojko "Raddy" Avramovic.