Singapore were drawn with Philippines, Thailand and Indonesia in Group A of the AFF Suzuki Cup on Tuesday, and coach V Sundramoorthy admitted that it was an “interesting draw” for the Lions.
Singapore has won the event four times and will now be looking to add a record fifth title to their collection, but getting past Thailand won’t be an easy task, especially as they won the last edition of the AFF Suzuki Cup in 2014.
Sundramoorthy, though, made it clear that Thailand are not the only nation Singapore should be concerned about as co-hosts the Philippines also pose a big threat as they will be playing on home soil.
“It is an interesting draw for us. Singapore and Thailand are the most successful teams in the history of the AFF Championship,” Sundramoorthy told reporters. “But this group isn’t just about Singapore and Thailand.
“Co-host Philippines are equally strong and will enjoy home ground support, and Indonesia is also a good team.”
Singapore striker Khairul Amri is brimming with confidence ahead of the tournament in November and feels that Singapore should consider themselves unlucky to not to make it out of the group stages in 2014.
“We were very unlucky at the 2014 edition, where we conceded very late penalties against Thailand and Malaysia,” he said. “However, let’s not forget that we had many young players who were then participating in their first international competition, such as Shakir Hamzah, Faris Ramli and Gabriel Quak.
“They have since matured and coupled with other young talents who have progressed through the youth development system. I am confident that our team will put up a good performance at the year-end Suzuki Cup.”
In order to ensure the Lions are well prepared for the AFF Suzuki Cup, Sundramoorthy confirmed that his side will play six matches against different opposition in the coming weeks.
“We will play another six international matches against opponents of varying strengths during the upcoming FIFA international weeks, with one of the aims being to build depth by giving opportunities to young players,” he said.