Coach Stephen Ng of Singapore Women’s National Team spoke about the new 23-player roster for the qualifiers round of Asian Football Confederation Women’s Asian Cup 2022 that will be held in India.
In this Straits Times news, we will cover the current roster of Singapore women’s national football team.
In the qualifiers, Singapore will battle against Indonesia, the fellow remaining team in Group C, in two games that are scheduled to occur on September 24 and 27 in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. The squad that gained the most points after the matches will advance to the group stage.
In the case that both teams landed on a draw, they will go through a penalty shootout to know who will be the winner. The change in the fixtures is a direct result of the withdrawal of North Korea and Iraq’s teams in the tournament due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Coach Ng firmly believes that his team will have a good chance in defeating the team of Indonesia. He said in an interview, “It is a new start for both countries as both Indonesian coach Rudy Eka Priyambada and I were appointed to our respective positions earlier in the year and have since reassembled our teams.”
“It will be an interesting match-up as we meet them twice in the space of four days. I see it as playing two finals – we will give our all and take it one game at a time.”
Ng is also proud of his diverse team where it comes to experience and skills. He said that by utilizing these advantages, his team has a good chance of winning the competition.
“This team was formed with the perspective of planning for the future in mind. There is a good mixture of fresh faces and seasoned veterans that we are tapping on, as we continue our efforts to develop the standard of women’s football in Singapore and advance our efforts in competing at the regional stage.”
A Diverse Team
The current roster of the Singapore women’s team is indeed diverse. The team is a unique combination of young and experienced players. The youngest in the team, Danielle Tan who is 16 years old is full of youth and strength. While the team captain, Ernie Sulastri Sontaril is in her 30s with 40 caps.
The common age in the team is 23 and Coach Ng has confidence that the four senior players, Noor Kusumawati, Lim Li Xian, Ho Hui Xin and Ernie will guide their younger teammates. Among the youths are the six newcomers in the team, Khairunnisa Khairol Anwar, Sara Merican, Nurhidayu Naszri, Winette Lim, Lila Tan, and Nicole Lim.
Naszri, Anwar and Nicole Lim were members of the Under-19 national team and they are expected to advance to the senior level soon.
According to Ng, his players are composed of versatile players and he even named a few players for their skills, he said, “They are promising players who bring energy into the midfield and possess great technical ability. Khairunnisa and Nurhidayu have been progressing through the national youth pipeline since they were 12 years old.”
“They are versatile players and display a mature level of understanding on the pitch. Nicole, on the other hand, was a recent addition to the Under-19s but holds raw potential that we aim to develop.”
“Along with Danelle, Dhaniyah, Dorcas, Lila, Umairah and Venetia, they form the next generation of women’s football and these matches will give them crucial experience as they progress,” he added.
Not all of the players, however, are available to compete at the moment. Priscilla Tan, Suria Priya, Siti Rosnani Azman, and Putri Nur Syaliza, were unable to join the team due to travel restrictions.
“Although we wish that our fellow Lionesses abroad could join us as we contest for qualification, their absence will not dampen the team’s spirits. We are motivated and keen on showcasing our best, after almost two years without competition. The squad has a great mix of talent and we are determined to play to our strengths and get the job done,” according to team captain Ernie.
The team will leave Singapore on September 16 to compete.