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Be Inspired: Faris Ramli – football news

What defines inspiration? It is a question that can produce a multitude of answers. For most of us inspiration is an important feature that is so much needed in our lives.

This is because inspiration drives us further, to be the best so that even we can one day reach the top. In sport, athletes are seen as a beacon of inspiration to the masses. Each athlete has his or her own story in getting to the top of their field.

And in line with the aforementioned, Goal Singapore has teamed up with Nike to produce inspirational stories of our local footballers in light of the upcoming AFF Suzuki Cup.

For football fans in Singapore and even in Malaysia Faris Ramli is a name that needs no introduction. Any talk about him will conjure up images of tricks and goals that have been so synonymous with the fleet-footed winger.

His performances last season for Home United were stellar ultimately earning him a move to Malaysian club PKNS, where he continues to make headlines with his stunning displays.

While the diminutive forward continues to garner success, it hasn’t always been easy for Faris as he has had to overcome the painful death of his late brother, Fahmi, who passed away in 2005. Faris’ brother was the one who inspired him to take up the sport, as a young boy, by encouraging him to play the game under the void decks of their flat, and aspire to don the national jersey.

Today, every time he steps out onto the pitch, the former Home United forward plays for his brother and hopes to make him proud by playing to the best of his ability. Besides his brother, Faris also draws inspiration from Shahril Ishak as the former Singapore captain is an excellent motivator and has great discipline.

Indeed for the PKNS player, discipline is crucial in succeeding in football.  Keeping fit and fresh tops his routine in order to maintain the highest levels of performance. Additionally for Faris, another important aspect is keeping one’s feet on the ground no matter how well one performs as there is always room for improvement.

Significantly such focus will be needed when Singapore begin their AFF Suzuki Cup campaign on November 9. For the tournament, the Lions will be donning the latest national kit designed by powerhouse brand Nike and Faris certainly did not hide his fondness for the jersey.

He loves how the current design is much more lightweight compared to previous ones while also mentioning the strip consisting of the Singapore crest and its stars at the back of the kit, highlights the innovation of the design. Furthermore, the colours of the home and the away jersey are strikingly fresh which will no doubt make the boys look good on the pitch.

faris ramli

On the other hand, Faris’ fondest memory of seeing the Lions play was in 2012 when Singapore despite being underdogs emerged victorious to be crowned champions, under Radojko Avramović. And it is with that memory in mind which he will look to spur Singapore to glory.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Know your enemy: The Philippines Azkals – football news

Once considered minnows of the ASEAN region, the Philippines have been on a steady rise as they look to be a competitive force in Southeast Asia.

There is no doubt that the upcoming AFF Suzuki Cup will be a platform for them to showcase their qualities in full-flow and they will have every belief, that this is their time.

For The Azkals, their rise coincided with the Philippine Football Federation’s decision to seek improvement by persuading overseas talents with Filipino heritage to come and play for the country.

Indeed this move saw the likes of former Chelsea youth players Phil and James Younghusband; now the face of Philippines football, return and play a resurgence in The Azkals’ rise. Besides the Younghusbands, there were also Chris and Simon Greatwich and current Premier League goalkeeper Neil Etheridge.

However it was only in 2010 when ASEAN sat up and took notice of the Philippines due to their excellent displays in the AFF Suzuki Cup that year. Considered underdogs, they surprised everyone by playing well and earning good results against the likes of four-time champions Singapore.

But it was the quarter-final win over reigning champions Vietnam which highlighted just how much they have progressed. Unfortunately an acrimonious defeat against Indonesia in the semi-final over two legs brought their positive run to a halt in the tournament.

On the other hand, many fans of The Azkals lamented the fact that their team had to play both legs in Jakarta owing to poor infrastructure in the country, causing fans to ponder on what if had their team been allowed to play at home in one of the legs.

Significantly this caused the Philippine Football Federation to re-look at the footballing landscape within the country and to make improvements. Two semi-finals finishes in 2012 and 2014 followed but it still remains to date The Azkals’ best finish in the AFF Suzuki Cup.

And entering the tournament later this year, the Philippines will believe that this is their best chance to win the coveted trophy. After all this is a team that had qualified for the Asian Cup in March 2017 and will want to use the AFF Championships to prove that the Asian Cup qualification, was purely due to the merit of their side.

Indeed The Azkals have come a long way since their humble beginnings and if Singapore aren’t careful it could be a short tournament for them.

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All you need to know ahead of Malaysia v Kyrgyz Republic – football news


BY        ZULHILMI ZAINAL       Follow on Twitter


Fresh from their 4-1 friendly win over Sri Lanka on Friday, Malaysia (FIFA ranking 171) will now head into their next friendly match, this time at home against a more formidable opponent.

On Tuesday, they will face Kyrgyz Republic (FIFA ranking 91), who are set to make an appearance in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup, the first time in the two team’s history that they will be playing each other at the senior level.

The encounter is part of the two sides’ preparations; with the hosts set to take part in the 2018 AFF Championship later this year, while the visitors are fine-tuning their squad ahead of the continental tournament.

Where and when will the match be played

Hang Jebat Stadium in Melaka. Match to kick off at 2045 (Malaysian time)

Both teams’ forms coming into the match

The five most recent matches of Tan Cheng Hoe’s charges have all been friendly encounters, almost all against similar or lower-ranked teams, and they won four of them. Their only match against a higher-ranked side, away to Chinese Taipei in September, ended in a 2-0 defeat.

Aleksandr Krestinin’s side meanwhile have not been playing in as many friendly matches, and two of their five most recent matches were Asian Cup qualification encounters. They won both qualifiers, against Myanmar and India, while the three friendlies ended in one win, one draw and one defeat.

Interestingly, since 2017 the White Falcons have played four times against Southeast Asian sides; and never lost in a single encounter. They were held to a 2-2 away draw against Myanmar in October last year, but later beat Indonesia, Brunei and Myanmar.

Kyrgyzstan

 Kyrgyz Republic winning the Aceh World Solidarity Tsunami Cup in 2017. Photo by Goal Indonesia/Adit

Call-ups

Since he took over as head coach, Tan’s Malaysia have recorded four wins, one draw and two defeats, but his attacking and midfield options are likely to be limited on Tuesday, due to recent injuries and other concerns. Midfielders Akram Mahinan, Rawilson Batuil and Nor Hakim Hassan had been injured and left out of the Sri Lanka encounter, while the sole foreign-based squad member, Shahrel Fikri Fauzi was revealed to have been seriously injured after the match.

Malaysia U-19’s Akhyar Rashid and Nik Akif Nik Mat are in Tan’s squad, but he may be reluctant to hand them key roles in the match, out of fear of risking the junior side’s chances in the 2018 AFC U-19 Championship, which kicks off in Indonesia later this week.

Thankfully, debutant forward Mohamadou Sumareh hit the ground running against Sri Lanka with his brace, while his club teammate Norshahrul Idlan Talaha found his first international goal in four years, and the forward may trouble the visitors’ defence.

Mohamadou Sumareh, Pahang, Malaysia

Sumareh. Photo from Malaysian FA

One got the sense that the defenders fielded on Friday were not the best combination, considering that Shahrul Saad was not even fielded, and this Tuesday Tan may field the best available combination that he has.

Krestinin has held his post since 2014 and knows his pool of players very well. His success of taking the Central Asian side to their first ever Asian Cup has further cemented his reputation in the country.

He should be set to field his best side, judging by the call-up list, save for a few changes. His squad for Tuesday feature mostly players from Kyrgyz champions FC Dordoi, where he is also head coach.

Kyrgyz Republic training in Malaysia ahead of the Tuesday friendly

Kyrgyzstani-German midfielder Edgar Bernhardt should captain the team on Tuesday, although another player with a similar heritage; star forward Vitalij Lux has not joined the squad due to an injury.

The home fans would be glad to also know that two of their regular international goal scorers this year; Anton Zemlianukhin and Mirlan Murzaev have not been called up for this encounter. However, forward Bekzhan Sagynbaev has scored two international goals this year, and should be guarded closely by Tan’s defenders.

Kyrgyz Republic also feature one naturalised player on their squad; 32-year old centre back Daniel Tagoe.

More interestingly, they have one player; Bakhtiyar Duishobekov who play in the Malaysia Super League, for Kelantan, and his knowledge on Malaysian players will most likely be used to brief their coaching staff.

19-year old centre back Aizar Akmatov meanwhile has played against Malaysia U-23 in the recent Asian Games, a match won by the Malaysians. 

After the match

Malaysia will play in their last pre-AFF Championship friendly match, at home to Maldives on November 3, while Kyrgyz Republic have lined up an away friendly encounter against Japan on November 20.

Our prediction

The match will likely end in a draw, or a win to the visitors, who sit 80 places above the hosts in the FIFA rankings. Tan is still tinkering with his best starting eleven and beset by injuries, while Kyrgyz Republic are still buoyed by their success at the continental level, and not to mention the presence of foreign player-turned-spy Bakhtiyar.

 

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Vietnam choose South Korea base for AFF Suzuki Cup preparations – football news

According to Asean Football Federation (AFF), Vietnam have planned for their build-up to the 2018 AFF Suzuki Cup to be done overseas with South Korea being chosen as the destination to do so. 

The 2016 semifinalist are riding on a high this year after splendid showing from the Under-23 side who reached the semi-final of the AFC U23 Championship in January as well as the 2018 Asian Games in August.

The team is expected to be based at Paju National Football Centre in South Korea on 13-28 October where they have also scheduled three friendly matches to be played while over there.

Vietnam are in the same group as Malaysia, Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia for the 2018 edition. Ironically, Malaysia were also placed in the same group as Vietnam, Myanmar and Cambodia in the last edition back in 2016.

Vietnam start their 2018 campaign with an away match against Laos on November 8 before hosting Malaysia in a crucial fixture on November 16 in the following game.

Malaysia lost 0-1 to Vietnam in the 2016 edition that was played in Yangon, Myanmar but claimed an impressive 2-4 win over Vietnam in the semi-final of the 2014 edition in Hanoi.

 

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AFF Championship updates: Timor-Leste qualify for finals, Singapore and Philippines drew in friendlies – football news


BY        ZULHILMI ZAINAL       Follow on Twitter


Ahead of the 2018 AFF Championship at the end of the year, over the weekend, Southeast Asian teams utilised the international match window to play in friendly matches.

On Friday, Singapore were held to a 1-1 draw at the Bishan Stadium by Mauritius, the Lions’ first match under newly-appointed head coach, legendary former player Fandi Ahmad. The visitors opened the scoring just five minutes into the match through Jonathan Justin’s goal, and the hosts had to wait until the 75th minute for the equaliser, scored by Fandi’s own son Ikhsan Fandi.

On the same day, Philippines too played their first match under a new head coach, Scott Cooper, with his new charges held to a 1-1 draw by Bahrain at the Bahrain National Stadium. Phil Younghusband converted from the spot in the 49th minute to give the visitors the lead, but Cardiff City star goalkeeper Neil Etheridge could not do much to deny Sayed Adnan Hussein from equalising for the hosts in the final seconds of the game.

Malaysia meanwhile lost 2-0 to Chinese Taipei at the Taipei Municipal Stadium.

On Saturday, Timor-Leste booked the last spot in the AFF Championship finals despite losing 1-0 to Brunei in the second leg of the play-off match, as the tie ended 3-2 on aggregate in their favour. In the match that was held at the Hassanal Bolkiah Stadium, the only goal of the match was scored by Najib Tarif in the 75th minute. The Little Samba Nation will be placed in Group B in the tournament later this year, their first appearance since 2004.

On Monday, Indonesia will host Mauritius, while Cambodia will host Malaysia, the Angkor Warriors’ first match under new head coach, Japanese star Keisuke Honda. Singapore will play at home against Fiji on the following day, while Laos will play away to UAE on Wednesday.

Thailand, Vietnam and Myanmar have not scheduled any matches during this international match period. 

 

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