News Singapore Premier League • September 14, 2018

Singapore Premier League Preview: Young Lions look to upset Albirex


Zulqarnaen Suzliman’s performances for Young Lions resulted in a National Team call-up.

SINGAPORE, 14 SEP 2018Zulqarnaen Suzliman believes that his recent exploits for Singapore will motivate his Young Lions teammates when they take on Albirex Niigata FC (S) at Jalan Besar Stadium on Saturday, 15 September at 5.30pm.

BACKGROUND In recent years, the Singapore National Team rarely featured Young Lions players within their ranks, with players from bigger clubs more likely to be called upon instead.

But that changed with the last Singapore call-up, with Irfan Fandi, Zulqarnaen Suzliman, Hami Syahin, Jacob Mahler and Ikhsan Fandi and Haiqal Pashia among the 26.

And these players, including Zulqarnaen, showed that who you played for mattered little, after he recently made his Singapore debut alongside his brother Zulfadhmi in a 1-1 draw with Mauritius last week.

“I’m happy and blessed to get my first cap for the National Team. It’s an honour to be part of the team. I’ll remember this moment for the rest of my life,” he said.

Now back with his club after the international break, the Young Lions defender has backed his uncapped teammates to put themselves on the national selectors’ radar too.

This starts with the upcoming game against Great Eastern-Hyundai Singapore Premier League champions Albirex, who are unbeaten this season.

“The squad has been training hard, everyone wants to prove their capability in the team,” he said.

“But it’s up to the coach who pick the team. Football is not only about the first 11 but the rest of the players as well. Everyone has to be ready to be called upon.”

Despite Joshua Pereira missing out through suspension, all six players called up for international duty return unscathed so Fandi Ahmad should have plenty of options at his disposal. Saifullah Akbar has linked up with the Young Lions and is in line to make his debut.

Albirex is at full strength bar defender Kaishu Yamazaki remaining the only absentee and the return of Adam Swandi will add firepower to an already potent front-line.

Young Lions: DLWLL
Albirex: WWWDW

18/07/18: Albirex 5-1 Young Lions – Singapore Cup
16/05/18: Young Lions 1-3 Albirex – Singapore Premier League
08/09/17: Young Lions 0-1 Albirex – Singapore Premier League
26/05/17: Albirex 8-0 Young Lions – Singapore Premier League
04/03/17: Young Lions 0-5 Albirex – Singapore Premier League

Ikhsan Fandi – Young Lions
You never bet against the form players and Ikhsan is clearly on fire with two goals in as many games for Singapore.

Wataru Murofushi – Albirex
Albirex’s midfield dynamo, Murofushi will look to pull the strings in midfield and strike from distance, if he can.

Young Lions defender Zulqarnaen:
“Against the unbeaten team, I’m sure we will give our best to get the three points. We take every game seriously and we want to prove that we are a better team than the last few seasons.”

Albirex Head Coach Kazuaki Yoshinaga: “I hope to have good preparations and enjoy the rest of the season with everyone. I cannot control how our opponents play. We are only concentrating on improving our way of fighting. We will do our best.”

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