Lions to spar with Middle Eastern nation
The Lions will play a friendly against Afghanistan or Yemen on March 23 in Qatar as part of their preparations for their Asian Cup qualifying campaign.
Singapore, ranked 164th, have played the 151st-ranked Afghans twice in the past two years during the World Cup/Asian Cup qualifiers, winning 1-0 at home in 2015 and losing 2-1 in Tehran last March, but have yet to meet world No. 148 Yemen.
Singapore's qualifying campaign will start with an away clash against Bahrain (126th) on March 28. The other two teams in Group E are Turkmenistan (144th) and Taiwan (157th).
Lions coach V Sundramoorthy told The New Paper: "Either opponent for the friendly will make a good sparring partner as they are both good and fast-improving sides that have proved they can match other Middle Eastern teams.
"Being able to play us in Doha will also be ideal for us as we can then cut travelling time to Bahrain to about an hour."
Sundram will gather the national players for centralised training on March 13, after the S.League takes a break.
Said the 51-year-old former Singapore forward: "It is very important to get the players together for bonding and understanding purposes, as we work on finer match details.
"We will call up a bigger pool of players this coming Monday before narrowing down the squad to 23 plus two or three back-ups for the following Monday's training."
Sundram is expected to name an experienced side that will include Home United goalkeeper Hassan Sunny, Tampines Rovers defender Daniel Bennett and striker Khairul Amri.
Overseas-based duo, PDRM FA's Safuwan Baharudin and CE L'Hospitalet's Hariss Harun, will also be called up.
Of the man who has worn the captain's armband whenever skipper Shahril Ishak is benched, Sundram said: "I'm pleased that Hariss has joined up with the Spanish team.
"Even though it is in a lower division, I'm sure it is of a high standard. I hope he will be able to get some games over there, but it would also be good if we can have him for two weeks to prepare for the Bahrain game."
While Singapore have lost all six previous encounters against the Group E top seeds, Sundram refused to accept that defeat is a foregone conclusion.
"They are a strong team, but we believe if we can play well as a team, we can get a positive result to kick-start our campaign," he said.