Five receive debut call ups for Lions’ March friendlies

SINGAPORE (18 March 2023) – Five players have been handed their debut call-up to the Singapore national team by head coach Takayuki Nishigaya, who announced today a squad of 22 players for the FIFA international window, later this month.

Amirul Haikal, Daniel Goh, Irfan Najeeb, Joel Chew, and Lionel Tan will have the opportunity to earn their first cap when the Lions take on Hong Kong and Macau in two international ‘A’ friendly matches on 23 and 26 March respectively.

The Tampines trio is joined by four club colleagues in Glenn Kweh, Faris Ramli, Syazwan Buhari and Taufik Suparno, whose collective performances have propelled the club to the top of the Singapore Premier League.

Huzaifah Aziz has been recalled back to the squad having last featured in June 2019 as he joins a midfield lineup that features a mixture of youth and experience. Captain Hariss Harun will be a notable absentee from the squad as he has been given permission by Coach Nishigaya to sit out this call-up as he is preparing to sit for an examination.

Tan, who has previously been capped at the Under-22 level, was delighted to receive his maiden senior call-up: “I am glad to be given this opportunity as representing the country at the top level is an honour that not many footballers can lay a claim to. I am very thankful that Coach Nishigaya has faith in me, and it is now up to me to justify my worth to the National Team setup.

“I will be a very new player in there, so my job is to learn as much as possible from the senior players and make sure that I am up to the level to excel for the Lions.”

Nishigaya said: “This international window along with the next one in June, will give me an opportunity to call up new faces to the squad as well as those who have not had an opportunity to feature for the national team for some time. The players who I have named in this squad have played well so far domestically in the SPL for their clubs, but it is important for them to have a taste of international football and understand exactly what level of intensity is required. The younger players also need this exposure, so they know what is required. The other coaches and I are watching every game and my message to all players is that we want to see you performing at a good level week-in-week-out and to show us that you deserve to be part of the National Team.”

The team will depart Singapore for Hong Kong on 20 March.