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Singapore U-23 football team to play against Myanmar in hope of qualifying for Asian Games

(Source: www.channelnewsasia.com)

SINGAPORE: The Singapore Under-23 (U23) football team will be playing a pivotal match against Myanmar’s Under-23 team on Wednesday (Jun 20), according to the Football Association of Singapore (FAS).

The upcoming match could lend support to FAS’ appeal to the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) and Sport Singapore (SportSG) to include the team in Singapore’s Asian Games lineup.

It was reported in May that the Singapore Under-23 team had failed to gain a nomination from the SNOC to participate in the upcoming Asian Games. 

For athletes to receive a nomination, they have to meet the “selection criteria of a sixth-place finish at the Asian level”, said SNOC.

However, it is still uncertain if the match against Myanmar will help FAS’ case as it takes place nearly a week after the deadline to meet the qualifying mark. 

Channel NewsAsia has contacted SNOC on this.

HARD MATCH TO SECURE

The lead-up to the upcoming match was not easy either with FAS initially struggling to find opponents for a friendly match before securing the match with Myanmar despite tight schedules.

“It has been a challenge arranging international games outside of FIFA international windows and we would like to express our appreciation to the Myanmar Football Federation for accepting our invitation to play this friendly next week,” said FAS’ head of national teams management Eric Ong.

Nonetheless, the Singapore Under-23 team’s head coach Fandi Ahmad remained positive stating that the match against Myanmar is a “good opportunity”.

“This match against Myanmar provides a good opportunity for the U23 players who have been performing for their clubs in the Singapore Premier League (SPL) to gain invaluable international football experience.

“It will be a good test for us but with the support of our home fans, we are confident of a good showing against one of the best Asian youth teams in recent years,” said Fandi.

Of the 22-man squad that will be playing next week, nine are new faces who were not called up for the friendly against Indonesia U23s in March, including six from the various SPL clubs, said FAS.

Myanmar qualified for the 2015 FIFA Under-20 World Cup in New Zealand after reaching the semi-finals of the 2014 Asian Football Confederation Under-19 Championship, along with North Korea, Qatar and Uzbekistan. 

Their senior team is ranked 138th in the latest FIFA World Ranking, with a number of players also playing in the Under-23 national team.

Ticket sales for the match at Bishan Stadium will start on Thursday at 10am.

More Info: www.channelnewsasia.com

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