TNP-Dollah Kassim Award winners named in Nations Cup squad
Singapore U-21 squad announced; five players are winners of TNP-Dollah Kassim Award
Each of them bagged The New Paper-Dollah Kassim Award and embarked on training stints with clubs in France and England.
Now, Ammirul Emmran Mazlan, Adam Swandi, Hazim Faiz Hassan, Muhammad Muhelmy Suhaimi and Joshua Bernard Pereira are about to take the next step in their fledgling football careers.
The five players from the Garena Young Lions were named in a 24-man squad for the inaugural Nations Cup.
The quadrangular, which will be held in Malacca next weekend, features the Under-21 national teams of Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.
Singapore will take on their Causeway rivals on June 3, and captain Ammirul, 21, is already looking forward to the encounter.
"It's an honour to be able to lead the team out as the rivalry is always there, be it at the national team or youth level," midfielder Ammirul told The New Paper yesterday.
"It's going to be a tough tournament because everyone wants to win it, especially Malaysia because of the home ground advantage.
"What's most important is that we play to our strengths, and not think about who we are playing."
For 20-year-old midfielder Muhelmy, the Nations Cup represents a "good platform to know where we stand", while fellow midfielder Joshua described it as a "stepping stone".
Joshua, 18, added: "In every tournament in the lead-up to the South-east Asia Games, we have to keep improving. I'm looking forward to a good run-out against experienced teams.
"Teams like Thailand and Vietnam are at a level we want to be at, so it's a good opportunity to gauge ourselves."
Commenting on the squad, coach Richard Tardy said in a statement: "International exposure is a key aspect of player development.
"The Nations Cup is an important platform for the players to gain experience on the international stage and hone our preparations leading up to the SEA Games in 2017."
Ammirul and Adam each spent two weeks with English Premier League side Newcastle United while Hazim and Muhelmy did the same with French outfit FC Metz. Joshua recently completed his stint with another French club, St Etienne.
The Singapore youngsters will be hoping to do one of the country's favourite football sons proud.
Ezaad Dollah, son of the late Dollah Kassim, said: "If he was still around, he would be among those travelling to Malacca to catch the boys 'live' in action.
"My late father was always a supporter of youth football, and he would be proud to see these boys carry on his legacy."
- Viewers can tune in to Eleven (Singtel TV Ch 109) and Eleven Sports (Ch 110) or visit www.elevensports.sg next Friday (June 3) at 8.45pm when Singapore take on Malaysia at the Hang Jebat Stadium in Malacca.
Nations Cup squad
- GOALKEEPERS: Ahmad Fadly Tamiri (Tampines), Hairul Syihan Mardan (Geylang), Muhammad Zharfan Rohaizad
- DEFENDERS: Brandon Koh (Geylang), Dhukilan Jeevamani (Geylang), Mohammad Faizal Roslan, Muhamad Rusyaidi Salime, Muhammad Amirul Azmi, Muhammad Shahrin Saberin (Home), Taufiq Muqminin Hossain
- MIDFIELDERS: Ammirul Emmran Mazlan, Jonathan Tan, Joshua Bernard Pereira, Muhammad Amir Zalani (Home), Muhammad Hafiz Sulaiman (Warriors), Muhammad Hami Syahin Said, Muhammad Muhaimin Suhaimi, Muhammad Zulfadhmi Suzliman, Gareth Low, Muhammad Muhelmy Suhaimi
- FORWARDS: Adam Swandi, Mohamad Shafeeq Faruk, Muhammad Amiruldin Asraf (Home), Muhammad Hazim Faiz.
* All Garena Young Lions unless stated.
- June 3: Vietnam v Thailand (4.45pm), Malaysia v Singapore (8.45pm),
- June 5: 3rd/4th placing (4.45pm), final (10pm).
* All matches at Hang Jebat Stadium, Malacca.