Four uncapped players called up for Singapore's March friendlies
Interim national coach Nazri Nasir has called up four uncapped players as part of a 26-man squad for the FAS Tri-Nations Series, a three-team 'A' international friendly tournament to be hosted in Singapore from March 23 to 29.
The Lions will play Malaysia on March 26 and the Philippines on March 29, while Harimau Malaya and the Azkals will square off on March 23.
Tampines Rovers defender Ryaan Sanizal, 19, and Young Lions midfielder Shah Shahiran, 22 have received their maiden call-ups while uncapped Tampines attacker Taufik Suparno, 26, receives his second call-up but first since November 2015. Goalkeeper Syazwan Buhari, part of the Suzuki Cup squad that made it to the semi-finals last year, is the other uncapped player.
Taufik has been rewarded after scoring six goals in 20 games for the Stags last season. He has already opened his account in the current campaign with a goal in their 2-2 draw with Balestier Khalsa on Feb 26.
Tampines will also be represented by Christopher van Huizen, whose last cap came in March 2016, in a 2-1 loss to Afghanistan in a 2018 World Cup qualifier.
Ryaan, who has represented Singapore at the Under-15 to U-23 level, said: "It is every kid's dream to be playing for the senior team and while the call-up comes as a surprise, I have been putting in plenty of effort at club level and it is a reward for me.
"This will also motivate me to... work even harder. I am looking forward to joining the team and going in to give my best, learn from the rest and show what I can do."
There was, however, no place in the squad for the likes of Gabriel Quak, Faris Ramli, Saifullah Akbar, Tajeli Salamat and Zharfan Rohaizad, who were all part of the Suzuki Cup squad. Nur Adam Abdullah and Shakir Hamzah, who also featured in the December tournament, are nursing injuries.
Young Lions coach Nazri, who was named interim coach of the senior national team on Wednesday (March 16), said: "Shah has done well for the Young Lions and at U-23 level, and I was impressed with his mature performances in both training and matches. He showed that he could cope with the high intensity and pressure, and he has also matured as a player and person.
"Similarly, Ryaan put in solid displays for Tampines last season and continued his good form this year, and he will provide good options for us in defence. I believe in giving young players opportunities and both of them have earned theirs, and it will be beneficial to their development to be in this camp with the senior players.
"The same goes for Taufik and Christopher, whose form at club level in recent times mean that they deserve to be in this team."
Up to 15,000 fans will be allowed for both Lions games - a record number during the pandemic - while the limit for the Malaysia-Philippines match is 5,000. All three matches will be played at the National Stadium and kick off at 8pm.
Tickets to the Tri-Nations Series are priced at $20 per game for adults and $10 for students 16 and below and senior citizens 60 and above. They go on sale from 10am on Friday at fas.org.sg/tickets.
Fans can get a 10 per cent discount when buying tickets for both Singapore matches, and may also buy tickets at the Sports Hub ticketing booth outside Kallang Wave on match days from 10am to 9.30pm.
Squad - Goalkeepers: Hassan Sunny, Izwan Mahbud (Lion City Sailors), Syazwan Buhari (Tampines Rovers), Zaiful Nizam (Geylang International). Defenders: Amirul Adli, Iqram Rifqi (Sailors), Irfan Fandi (BG Pathum), Nazrul Nazari (Hougang United), Ryaan Sanizal (Tampines), Safuwan Baharudin (Selangor FC), Zulqarnaen Suzliman (Young Lions). Midfielders: Adam Swandi, M. Anumanthan, Hami Syahin, Hariss Harun, Shahdan Sulaiman, Song Uiyoung (Sailors), Christopher van Huizen (Tampines), Shah Shahiran (Young Lions), Zulfahmi Arifin (Hougang). Forwards: Amy Recha, Shawal Anuar (Hougang), Hafiz Nor (Sailors), Ikhsan Fandi (BG Pathum), Ilhan Fandi (Young Lions), Taufik Suparno (Tampines).