Singapore U22s to Face India In Two Friendlies Before U23 Championship Qualifiers in Myanmar

Siblings Irfan and Ikhsan might both travel with the U22s to Myanmar in July.

Aaron Chan
Writer / Editor
The Unofficial S.League Podcast

30 June 2017: The All India Football Federation (AIFF) announced today that the India Under-23s would be traveling here to play two friendlies against the Singapore Under-22s in the first week of July.

The pair of friendlies would serve as the final warm-up matches for both sides as they each prepare to travel to Qatar and Myanmar respectively for the upcoming AFC U-23 Championship Qualifiers in mid-July. In this regard, The Unofficial S.League Podcast understands that the India Under-23 squad was supposed to travel to the United States for their final preparations but they could not obtain their US visas on time.

The friendlies would provide valuable match experience for both sides as the India Under-23s were only assembled a few days prior to the continental qualifiers while the Singapore Under-22s would relish the opportunity to play against opponents of a similar age group following a recent training tour of Qatar.

India Under-23s Caretaker Coach Stephen Constantine recently lamented that they face an uphill task due to the lack of a continued pathway for young players to develop into the Under-23s. "Some of these boys have been with each other in Under-19 teams but most of them are not. So, it is difficult to make it a team in one week or 10 days." said the Englishman in a recent interview with Indian news portal Firstpost. Constantine, who is the Head Coach of the senior India National Team since 2015, was thrust into the caretaker position after former Chelsea academy coach Lee Johnson vacated the post in February this year.

On the other hand, the Singapore Under-22s have played five international friendlies in the last 2 months which saw them lose both games against the Qatar Under-22s in Doha, drawing two games against the Vanuatu Under-20s and pipping the young Vanuatans with a  3-2 scoreline in the first of three friendlies played here in May.

Apart from the Garena Young Lions, who make up the bulk of the Singapore Under-22 squad, young players from other teams such as Darren Teh (Geylang International), Hanafi Akhbar (Balestier Khalsa) Lionel Tan and Amir Zalani (both Hougang United) were given precious game time under Singapore Under-22 Head Coach Richard Tardy's tutelage over the past few matches.

The Singapore Under-22s will be in Myanmar from 19th to 23rd July where they will face stage hosts Myanmar, Australia and Brunei in Group F of the 2018 AFC U23 Championship Group Qualification Stage.

Do look out for more details on the two friendlies against the India Under-23s on our Facebook page.

Singapore Under-22 2018 AFC U23 Championship Group F Fixtures

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