Tardy to fine-tune SEA Games squad in Doha
The time for tinkering is over.
National Under-22 football coach Richard Tardy is demanding to see good performances - and results to match - from his charges, when they take on their Qatar counterparts in two friendly games this week.
Tardy and his squad have been in Doha since Sunday, on a training camp as part of their preparation for the South-east Asia (SEA) Games in Kuala Lumpur in August.
They play the U-22 side of world No. 88 Qatar, who narrowly missed out on qualification to the 2016 Olympics, tonight and on Saturday. Singapore are ranked 157th.
In a phone interview with The New Paper, Tardy said: "We are close to the (final) team.
"Other than Hanafi (Akbar), I hope all our players will be ready for these two matches.
"For these games, I will play the players who are in my mind for the start list."
Balestier Khalsa winger Hanafi was turned away by immigration in Doha due to an issue with his passport and had to return to Singapore.
Apart from him, only injured duo Darren Teh and Muhaimin Suhaimi are missing from Tardy's squad.
Home United centre back Irfan Fandi, who played for the senior national team against Taiwan and Argentina this past week, is scheduled to join the team in Doha today, although he is likely to play in only Saturday's game.
Singapore football is reeling from a disappointing week in which the senior team suffered morale-sapping losses (2-1 to Taiwan and 6-0 to Argentina), while the national U-15s were thumped by the Indonesia U-16s 4-0 and 12-0.
Tardy knows his side are under intense scrutiny.
However, the Frenchman said: "These two games against Qatar will be difficult, but this is the challenge I want.
"We have to play strong teams if we want to be ready for the AFC U-23 qualifiers next month and then the SEA Games.
"Sure, there is pressure. It is normal, but what I want to see from the players is for them to take responsibility.
"They know they are representing the country and, at this level, we need a good performance but also a good result."