One striker, one midfielder, one goalkeeper and four defenders. We are pleased to say that during this two-week international break, Khairul Amri, Yasir Hanapi, Izwan Mahbud, Madhu Mohana, Shakir Hamzah, Fahrudin Mustafic, and Daniel Bennett have been recalled to Sundram’s 23-man national team squad. They will play a friendly against Afghanistan on 23 March in Doha as preparation for their 2019 AFC Asian Cup Group E qualifiers before travelling to Bahrain to kickstart the campaign.
Daniel has the most experience with Singapore’s national team amongst the seven, having made his debut 15 years ago on 11 December in 2002 in a friendly against the Philippines. On 4 August 2003, he scored his first goal for Singapore. With the Lions, Daniel has won the ASEAN Football Championship three times — 2004, 2007 and 2012. Since his debut, Daniel currently has made 132 appearances and scored six goals for the country. Despite having turned 39 this year, he is no doubt still a solid defender and plays a key role for the Lions. Age is just a number.
Singapore’s golden man, Amri, made his debut for Singapore’s national team two years after Daniel in 2004 through a game against Oman. Amri has caps for Singapore at the youth level as well, with caps in the U16, U18 and U23 teams. He has won the AFF Championship (aka Suzuki Cup) three times with the Lions — 2004, 2007 and 2012 and has a bronze medal at the SEA Games from 2006. Currently, Amri has made 113 appearances and scored 32 goals for Singapore. Despite the injuries he’s sustained over the course of his career, Amri shows no sign of slowing down, evident from the beautiful overhead kick goal he scored in the AFF Suzuki Cup only late last year.
Another two years later in a friendly against Denmark in 2006, we saw Fahrudin make his debut for the Lions. The Lions have won five of the eight games that Fahrudin has scored in, three of those being at home. He was part of the AFF Championship squad that won the title in 2007 and 2012. Adding a cherry on top of his first title win with Singapore in 2007 also saw Fahrudin score his first international goal through a penalty at the National Stadium in the final, where the Lions won 2-1. Currently having made 82 appearances and scoring eight goals for Singapore, Fahrudin plays a very important role for the Lions with the experience and leadership skills he has both on and off the pitch.
Placing a halt to debuts every two years, Izwan’s debut for the Lions came five years after Fahrudin on 18 July in 2011. Just like Daniel and Fahrudin, his debut was through a friendly match, against Chinese Taipei. His most famous performance for the Lions, where the video went viral online, was when he made 18 incredible saves against Asian powerhouse Japan that eventually finished with a draw, 0-0. At 22, he was the first choice goalkeeper in the 2012 AFF Suzuki Cup. Izwan currently only has one title to his name with the Lions — when they won the AFF Championship in 2012. Despite the friendly rivalry he has with Singapore’s #18 Hassan Sunny for the first choice position, Izwan currently has 41 appearances with the Lions and we’re certain that that number will only keep increasing.
Double debut in 2012! Yasir and Shakir both made their debuts for Singapore in the same year. Shakir’s debut came through starting in the first of two legs of the highly anticipated yearly Causeway Challenge against Malaysia. Despite the two not having won any silverware yet with the Lions, they have medals to their name at the youth level in the SEA Games. Yasir won the bronze medal in 2007 and 2009, whilst Shakir won the bronze medal as well in 2013. Yasir’s first and currently only goal for the Lions came just last year on 13 November, in their final preparation match for the AFF Championship against Cambodia at Jalan Besar Stadium. His first goal proved to be an important one for the country, as the Lions walked out 1-0 winners. Yasir currently has 15 appearances whilst Shakir has a slightly over double with 31 appearances for the Lions.
Club captain Madhu debuted for the Lions a year after Yasir and Shakir in 2013, where he started against Laos on October 10. He has represented Singapore at the U22 level, where he made four appearances and scored one goal as part of the AFC Asian Cup qualifiers squad. Despite not having won any silverware with the Lions just yet, Madhu has proven himself to be a key role to both our club and country’s defence. His well-known long throw-ins led to Amri scoring Singapore’s only goal in the Suzuki Cup last year. Since his debut, Madhu has made 22 appearances for the Lions but there’s no doubt we’ll be seeing him a lot more donning the Singapore jersey.
436 appearances and 47 goals from our seven players combined have been made for the Lions. Amri, Yasir, Izwan, Madhu, Shakir, Fahrudin, and Daniel have all played vital roles for our club this season so far, and truly deserve their recalls to the Sundram’s squad. There’s no doubt that they will be an important component for the Lions during this international break and will perform just as well for country as they have for club. We wish all seven of our players all the best on international duty.