Singapore: Head coach Tatsuma Yoshida has left defender Safuwan Baharudin out of the 26-man Singapore squad for the second round of the Asian Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and the AFC Asian Cup China 2023.
The Japanese coach has not selected the Selangor centre-half as a precaution after he suffered a recent concussion, but has included uncapped trio Saifullah Akbar, Idraki Adnan and Ilhan Fandi in a squad captained by new Lions City Sailors signing Hariss Harun.
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Harris and Tampines Rovers defender Baihakki Khaizan will link up with the squad in Riyadh and will miss Singapore’s warm-up meeting with Afghanistan, which will be played in Dubai on May 29.
The squad will then fly to Saudi Arabia, where they will return to competitive action in Group D against Palestine on June 3 in Riyadh. They will then face Uzbekistan on June 7 before completing their schedule against Saudi Arabia four days later.
“We know that the opponents will be very strong, and it will be a tough challenge,” Yoshida said. “We have to defend properly and be patient when needed, while at the same time be aware of and follow the concepts we have always practiced in training and recent matches.
“However, we have to challenge in every match even if our opponents are strong. As a team, we will aim to play for victory in every match and everyone wants to try and secure second spot in the group.”
Yoshida’s side are currently in third place in the group, four points behind leaders Saudi Arabia after five matches. The group winners will advance to the next phase of qualifying for Qatar 2022 and will progress to the finals of the AFC Asian Cup.
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