Fandi urges Young Lions to battle for Asiad spot
S'pore U-23 coach wants to convince selectors they are good enough
Singapore's national Under-23 team will be fighting for more than just pride in their friendly against Indonesia's U-23 side at the National Stadium tonight.
With the Young Lions yet to receive the nod from the Singapore National Olympic Council for August's Asian Games in Jakarta, Fandi Ahmad's team are in a hurry to impress the selectors.
They could certainly start with a compelling performance against Indonesia tonight.
Speaking at the pre-match press conference, coach Fandi said: "It's very important that we go into the game with the mindset of winning.
"The last few years haven't been good for us but we have a good team.
"This result is important as well because we're also vying for a spot in the Asian Games so, hopefully, we can convince people that we're good enough."
But Fandi, 55, is also well aware of the quality of tonight's opponents.
He said: "We will strive to press Indonesia because they're a good team.
"They've got experience and many of them are playing overseas. They have more exposure, more experience, but we'll try to surprise them tomorrow and see where we stand."
But the former national striker, who took over the reins from Richard Tardy in December, has faith in his team's abilities.
Although the team were assembled just five days ago, he is satisfied with how his players have come together during training.
He said: "I'm confident with what I've seen so far over the last five days.
"Looking at them now, they're a very compact unit even though they're coming from different clubs. The harmony is there, team work is there, the camaraderie is good, they make a good team."
Defender Illyas Lee, 22, believes that a victory tonight will be a shot in the arm for a team which suffered a dismal year, in which they were eliminated from the SEA Games during the group phase.
Lee, who was part of that squad, said: "Given what happened last year, a win tonight will motivate us for this year, so we'll definitely be looking to get a good result."
The fact that the majority of the team will be playing at the National Stadium for the first time will give them an added boost, he continued.
He said: "We are especially excited that this game will be played at the National Stadium.
"For many of us, it's the first time playing there. It'll be a good opportunity for us to showcase our talent, especially the younger boys who are coming up.
"This is a good opportunity for us to show our worth and also fight for our future."