Safuwan revelling in attacking role
Lions ace, who has scored in six straight games for his club, may replace injured Amri up front
He started Singapore's sparring match against Myanmar on Tuesday on the bench.
But Safuwan Baharudin could be handed a start up front when the Lions host Taiwan in an Asian Cup Group E qualifier at the Jalan Besar Stadium tomorrow night.
The New Paper understands chief striker Khairul Amri is likely to miss the crucial tie because of appendicitis.
Safuwan, who replaced Amri at the break in the 1-1 draw with Myanmar, is raring to prove what he can do.
"When it comes to the national team, my mentality has always been: Whatever (role) you hand me, I will do it," he said.
"But sometimes it is tough because if I play (out of position), I wonder if I can perform as well as some other teammates who are more natural in that position.
"Whatever it is, I know whenever I am given a chance, I need to grab it."
Safuwan, who made his name as a defender but plays most of his football these days as a striker or attacking midfielder, showed glimpses of his newly honed attacking instinct against Myanmar.
In the 71st minute, Safuwan muscled his marker off the ball inside the penalty box, and in one balletic motion turned to get himself goalside.
The 25-year-old then let rip a powerful shot, but was denied by a superb save by Myanmar goalkeeper Kyaw Zin Htet.
Even though he was unsuccessful in that attempt, Safuwan proved he has the tools in his locker to make him an ace up national coach V Sundramoorthy's sleeve.
Said Sundram: "His aerial strength is key to our team.
"It is an added advantage too that he has been scoring regularly (at club level) too."
Because he plies his trade with PDRM FA in the second tier of Malaysian football, Safuwan's progress has largely gone under the radar of most local fans.
Fatherhood has changed me a lot. Now, I know it's not about me anymore, its about him.Safuwan on his eight-month-old son, Seth Adam
But he has been finding the net regularly for The Cops this season, bagging eight goals in just 10 games.
In fact, he has scored in six straight games just before the international break.
Here's perhaps another surprise - out of the eight goals, only two have come from headers.
Famed for his heading, Safuwan has shown he is adept with his feet as well.
Said Safuwan: "I think I feel more confident now.
"In my first season with PDRM (in 2016), I needed to get used to the responsibility of having to create or score goals in an advanced role.
"But now, it feels natural, especially after I found some scoring form."