Young Lions’ sibling-pair relish time together at Merlion Cup
Judging from the way Young Lions forward Haiqal Pashia Anugrah shouts at his teammate, midfielder Rezza Rezky Ramadhani, not many would have guessed that they are brothers.
The siblings are used to the harsh treatment they dish out at each other during matches but, deep down, they know those words bear no ill intention.
"I always tend to scold him because when our team are down, we tend to get frustrated with each other," said Haiqal, 20."But, after the game, we will always comfort each other."
Rezza, 18, said: "We always argue, especially when I don't play the ball to him. But, off the pitch, we never quarrel."
That is until their favourite English Premier League teams clash. Rezza supports Arsenal, while Haiqal is a Chelsea fan.
Not surprisingly, banter was the order of the day at their household during last week's Europa League final, where Chelsea beat Arsenal 4-1.
"We watched it together and were arguing throughout the match," said Rezza with a laugh.
The brothers will be united in their cause at the Merlion Cup, an invitational Under-22 tournament which kicks off at the Jalan Besar Stadium tomorrow.
This will be the first time that they will be donning the Singapore jersey together , and Haiqal is proud to have Rezza following his footsteps.
Before Rezza joined the Young Lions this year, the last time they played for the same team was seven years ago at Bravehearts Football Academy.
While having his younger brother in the same team again took some getting used to, Haiqal, who is serving the nation as a firefighter, admitted that he's glad they get to have time together.
He said: "It feels weird, to be honest, because we're not that close any more. We're both busy. I have national service and he had school… But I knew sooner or later, we'll play together again because our age gap is not that far.
"It's good for us to bond and play together. We can train hard together, motivate each other so that we can go far and play in the senior national team."
In the interim, both will be hoping to make the cut for the Singapore U-22 squad, who will compete at the Nov 30-Dec 11 SEA Games in the Philippines.
The Merlion Cup will be a good chance for them to convince their coach Fandi Ahmad that they deserve to represent the country at the biennial meet.
On tomorrow's opener against the Philippines, Haiqal said: "It's going to be tough because they are a physical team, but we have experienced players and it will be nice to play with Singapore behind us.
"I really hope the fans will turn up to support us." - ADEENA NAGIB
MERLION CUP (U-22 tourney)
- Thailand v Indonesia (4.30pm)
- Singapore v Philippines (7.30pm)
- 3rd/4th placing (4.30pm)
- Final (7.30pm)
Where: Jalan Besar Stadium
Tickets: Available from the stadium's ticketing counter and via www.fas.org.sg/tickets