Faris Ramli likely to join Singapore's SEA Games squad
SPL's Player of the Year and Tajeli '70 % sure' to be among coach Fandi's 20 men
Singapore's hopes of ending a run of consecutive group-stage exits in the SEA Games football tournament received a boost yesterday, with Faris Ramli looking likely to be one of the two overaged players for the Nov 25-Dec 10 tournament.
Singapore Under-22 coach Fandi Ahmad yesterday said the 27-year-old and defender Tajeli Salamat, 25, are "70 per cent sure" to be in his squad in the Philippines.The squad list will be finalised on Saturday.
|SINGAPORE U-22||PERTH GLORY U-20|
|(Haiqal Pashia 9, Irfan Fandi 10, Hami Syahin 57, Faris Ramli 69-pen)||(Alessandro Circati 88)|
This could be Faris' fourth Games, with the Lions attacker featuring at the 2011, 2013 and 2015 tournaments.
The Singapore Premier League's newly minted Player of the Year - who last week signed for Terengganu in the Malaysian top flight - has experience of medalling at the biennial Games, winning bronze in 2013.
That was the last time the Young Lions finished on the podium at the regional tournament, having failed to make the knockout stages at three of the last four Games.
Faris made an instant impact after linking up with the Under-22s for the first time last night, grabbing a goal and an assist in the 4-1 win over Perth Glory's Under-20s at the Jalan Besar Stadium.
Said Fandi: "It's 70 per cent (confirmed), yeah. We also hope that everyone is injury-free...
"What we need is an attacker and another defender. Tajeli gives flexibility, he can play in the defence on the right, left and centre...
"We were looking for a utility player, he can play anywhere.
"It's not bad how Faris has fitted in (in his first match with the team). Good passes, good runs.
"Faris is Faris. He keeps the ball well, dribbles and releases the ball well. Maybe he only needs more training with us before we leave...
"I think we don't have a striker who can keep the ball well... they are not strong enough to hold up play."
That problem could be solved by Ikhsan Fandi.
The 20-year-old Raufoss IL striker has scored seven goals in his 16 appearances for the full national team.
Fandi, his father, says that he is still awaiting confirmation from the second-tier Norwegian club over the striker's availability.
In previous talks with the club, they had said they would release Ikhsan if they failed to make the play-offs, which they have since missed out on.
With Ikhsan in Doha with the national team, Fandi says he will have his full 20-man SEA Games squad at his disposal for only two or three training sessions before they depart for the Philippines on Nov 23.
The Young Lions kick off their campaign against V. Sundram Moorthy's Laos on Nov 26. The other teams in Group B are Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam and Brunei.
The Young Lions did sign off with a comfortable win in their last official warm-up match yesterday against Perth Glory U-20s, with Haiqal Pashia, Irfan Fandi, Hami Syahin and Faris finding the net.
SINGAPORE: Zharfan Rohaizad (Kenji Asyraf 66), Tajeli Salamat (Syukri Bashir 81), Irfan Fandi (Irfan Najeeb 73), Lionel Tan (Daniel Goh 68), Jordan Vestering (Syahrul Sazali 46), Jacob Mahler (Shah Shahiran 46), Ryhan Stewart (Joshua Pereira 73), Naqiuddin Eunos (Zulqarnaen Suzliman 46), Hami Syahin (Saifullah Akbar 60), Haiqal Pashia (Amiruldin Asraf 72), Faris Ramli (Nur Luqman Rahmad 81)