In a move in the right direction, Singapore coach Raddy Avramovic will be working with a new-look national team for the upcoming friendlies against Hong Kong and Malaysia.
With as many as nine uncapped players and several more with little senior team experience, the call-ups signal a rejuvenation process for the Lions who have been floundering in recent years.
But, there is a lot more talent out there who could take the step up and don the national red. We present 10 players who we think should be in the national team.
| JAMIL ALI | Tampines Rovers
|Ask anyone who has been watching the S.League regularly who should be in the Singapore national team, and you can bet that the most repeated name will be Jamil Ali. The hardworking Tampines striker has speed and the killer instinct to find the net in crucial matches. Jamil, who has one cap from 2004, unfortunately has the unenviable task of playing shadow to his striker partner, the prolific Aleksandar Duric. But not hitting the headlines should be no reason to be overlooked.|
| LIONEL LEWIS | Home United
|The former Singapore number 1 has since dropped down the pecking order after a series of injuries. In his place, the worthy LionsXII duo of Izwan Mahbud and Hyrulnizam Juma'at have stepped up. But in both League and continental competitions, Lewis has shown superb form, worthy of at least a call-up, if not a return to being Singapore's number 1. What we need is a sign of assurance from the big man that he's ready, but his performances are evident enough anyway.|
| AMY RECHA | Geylang United
|Nazmi Faiz of S.League's Harimau Muda A fame has been on the radar of European scouts for a good year and he finally got his big move to the Portuguese First Division. What Nazmi had was exposure, and that is exactly what young Amy Recha needs. The 20-year-old Geylang forward has played bit-part roles off the bench but his eyecatching performances should be a sign of bigger things to come if developed well.|
| SEVKI SHA'ABAN | LionsXII
|Hariss Harun could not possibly deputise for two missing centre-backs, and that meant a starting berth for what was then a fourth-choice centreback in Sevki Sha'aban. But the former Geylang United player's form has been remarkable, coinciding with the LionsXII's best run in the league. Never looking a step out of place and a natural in the heart of defence, Sevki has too few caps to his name.|
|JEREMY CHIANG | Home United|
|27-year-old Jeremy Chiang is not the most eye-catching player you would see. But the former Gombak United defender fits the mould of what, Jose Mourinho dubbed Paulo Ferreira - 'A player who will never be man of the match but will always score 7/10 for his individual display.' In other words, Chiang is the mark of consistency and in a Home United side built on industry, has qualities that are much needed in the national set-up|
|ISMAIL YUNOS | Gombak United|
|Having thoroughly recovered from that horrific knee injury that wrecked his international career in 2009, he has been patiently biding his time while manning the rear with Gombak United. Familiar with every position across the backline, and especially experienced in supporting the attack from rightback, this lanky man provides a seasoned alternative to untested rookies like Raihan Abdul Rahman, Poh Yi Feng and Shakir Hamzah.|
|MADHU MOHANA | LionsXII|
|It may seem curious to suggest that, with 18 LionsXII players already called up, there are still perfectly good ones being left out, but both Sevki and this Singapore Sports School alumnus have been putting in determined performances at the back whenever they are called upon. If friendly matches like the ones against Hong Kong and Malaysia are a chance to cultivate young talents, this emerging pillar should not be far from such a shortlist.|
|NURULLAH HUSSEIN | Gombak United|
|Moving straight from the National Football Academy to Gombak United’s first team, this teenage fullback has fully justified Bulls chairman John Yap’s pre-season tip that he will be an exciting one to watch with his willingness to surge forward and support the attack. Being involved in the national Under-22s setup apparently precluded him from selection this time, but if he keeps up his good work, an appearance in August against Hong Kong should not be ruled out.|
|K.VIKRAMAN | Gombak United|
|There is a growing trend of picking versatile players who can cover multiple positions, and on that basis, this wily winger can be given serious consideration. Having already shown that he can take both the left and right flanks while with Balestier Khalsa, he has also served at rightback and defensive midfield for Gombak United this term. At 29, his career has bloomed relatively late, but surely there can be a place for him.|
|Aliff Shaffaein | Tanjong Pagar United|
|The pint-sized attacker has often had to battle against the odds, and after years of working with top guns at Tampines Rovers, the shock switch to Tanjong Pagar United has thrown him more challenges. But he has adapted well after a difficult start to provide creative impetus on the left, and if Firdaus Idros can earn himself a place in the Singapore national team, a similarly skilful and gutsy man such as ‘The Little Master’ can do it too.|