Singapore, Malaysia U23 coaches enjoy differing fortunes

Singapore’s U23 coach Richard Tardy and his Malaysian counterpart Ong Kim Swee’s preparations for next month’s SEA Games are in stark contrast.

Singapore this weekend named a 23-man squad for the upcoming 2018 AFC Under-23 Championships qualifiers, to be held in Myanmar between July 19 and 23.

S.League team Garena Young Lions make up the bulk of the squad, with six players drafted in from other teams.

Frenchman Richard Tardy’s side face hosts Myanmar, Australia and Brunei in their group matches.

The top teams from the 10 groups, plus the five best runners up will qualify for the tournament, which will be held in China in January.

The qualifiers will also serve as preparation for next month’s Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Kuala Lumpur, where Singapore are also grouped together with Myanmar and Brunei.

Meanwhile, Tardy’s Malaysian counterpart Ong Kim Swee said he will wait until the last minute before finalising his squad for Malaysia’s qualifying tournament in Bangkok.

Malaysia travel to Thailand where they will face favourites Thailand, Indonesia and Mongolia in their qualifying group.

Ong’s preparations have been disrupted after Malaysia Super League sides Johor Darul Ta’zim, Pahang and Penang refused to release their young players for a recent week-long training camp and friendly match against Myanmar.

Ong said that he would leave the door open for the missing players before naming his squad his 23-man squad for Thailand.

“I do not want to talk about the status of a few players that have yet to report. The door is still open for them, so it is up to them. If they are interested to show up, I have time before I choose my 23 men bound for Bangkok on Monday,” Ong told ESPN.

Singapore Under-23 squad
Goalkeepers: Zharfan Rohaizad, Hairul Syirhan, Fashah Iskandar
Defenders: Darren Teh (Geylang International), Lionel Tan (Hougang United), Irfan Fandi (Home United), Amirul Adli, Shahrin Saberin, Faizal Roslan, Dhukhilan Jeevamani, Syahrul Sazali
Midfielders: Amiruldin Asraf, Adam Swandi (Home United), Illyas Lee, Hami Syahin, Hafiz Sulaiman, Muhelmy Suhaimi, Hanafi Akbar (Balestier Khalsa)
Forwards: Zulqarnaen Suzliman, Haiqal Pashia, Muhaimin Suhaimi, Taufik Suparno, Ikhsan Fandi