Goal-shy Lions confident of scoring against Taiwan
National players trust Sundram to get his tactics right in next home game against Taiwan
In Sundram we trust.
That's the sentiment of the national team footballers upon returning home from Riffa, where they pulled off a 0-0 draw against a Bahrain team ranked 36 places above them in the world rankings in an Asian Cup qualifier on Tuesday.
The result against Group E's highest-ranked team (127th) gave the 163rd-ranked Lions a huge boost in their bid to finish in the top two in the four-team group and qualify for the 2019 Asian Cup Finals in the United Arab Emirates.
The other two countries in Group E are Turkmenistan (144th) and Taiwan (159th).
While a solid backline was the order of the day against Bahrain, Singapore will need to find their scoring boots if they want to beat Taiwan in their next qualifying match at the National Stadium on June 10.
Since V Sundramoorthy took over as national coach in May last year, the Lions have scored just six goals in 13 international matches.
But his players believe that as long as they follow the instructions of the tactician, they will get the results they want.
"We know we can get the goals we need (against Taiwan)," striker Khairul Nizam told The New Paper yesterday.
"I'm sure Coach Sundram has studied them very closely and he will have a plan for them, and we as players just have to execute it.
"For now, we just have to wait for that game and do our best when it comes, like how we did against Bahrain."
"Coach Sundram will have his tactics right," added winger Faris Ramli.
"Home or away (games), we do not know what he has up his sleeve.
"All we know is that if we want to get results like the one against Bahrain, we have to follow his instructions.
"Our main aim is to carry out the coach's plans, and we also have to work and fight for one another on the pitch."
Nizam and Faris, who play their club football for Great Eastern-Hyundai S.League side Home United, were part of Sundram's LionsXII team that lifted the Malaysian Super League (MSL) title in 2013.
That success was built on a solid defence which conceded just 15 times in 22 matches, and the duo are firm supporters of Sundram's result-oriented approach.
The two players added that Tuesday's draw has helped lift the gloom that has hovered over the national team since an early exit at the AFF Suzuki Cup in the Philippines last December.
"Even after we got back to the hotel from the stadium, everyone was still buzzing and talking about the game," said Faris.
"Every player was all smiles at dinner and at breakfast the next morning.
"Our next game is at home and, honestly, it doesn't matter if it's Taiwan or Bahrain, we're all looking forward to it."
Added Nizam: "The mood in the team was different after the game."
"Everyone was really happy with the result, because we worked so hard for that point."