|By Kenneth Tan
The Singapore Under-21 Squad will be travelling up to Pleiku, Vietnam to compete in the Youth Newspaper Cup 2012, an international U21 football tournament, from October 13 to October 21 2012.
The Singapore U21s are in Group A together with Thailand U21 and Vietnam Youth Newspaper Team, while Group B comprises Malaysia U21, Laos U21 and Sydney FC from Australia.
The team consists of 20 players, with an average age of 19.1 years, with nine of them coming from the Courts Young Lions, eight from the NFA Under-18 team, two from Geylang United FC and one from Hougang United FC.
They will be led by former Singapore international Robin Chitrakar, and will kick off their campaign against hosts Vietnam on Saturday, October 13, at 6pm.
Hougang midfielder Farhan Rahmat and Geylang United duo Basil Teo and Amy Recha are the only representatives from S.League clubs.
“Some clubs don’t want to release players, some [are] tied down by National Service - they [have] applied for leave, but are on standby. It's unfortunate," said Chitrakar.
"We're definitely looking at development; we have a relatively young squad with about seven to eight U18 boys - we should be the youngest in the tournament.
"We're going to play Vietnam which is not [going to be] easy, but the boys will try their best."
The Vietnam Newspaper Cup is an annual U21 football competition held by the Vietnam Football Federation to prepare youth players for U23 level and the senior side.
The tournament is now into its sixth year, with the Viets piping the Iranians to first place last year.
Singapore's best showing was in the inaugural edition in 2007, where they finished in third place. Two successive fourth-place finishes were achieved in 2008 and 2009, and they have bowed out in the group stages for the past two years.
The Cubs will play Vietnam on Saturday evening, before taking on the Thais on Monday.
The semi-finals will be played on the 19th, and the final is scheduled for the 21st.
Saturday, October 13: Vietnam U21 vs Singapore U21, 6pm.
Monday, October 15: Singapore U21 vs Thailand U21, 3.30pm.
Singapore Under-21 Squad
Goalkeepers: Zulfairuuz Rudy (NFA U18), Syazwan Bin Buhari (Courts Young Lions)
Defenders: Farhan Bin Rahmat (Hougang United), Sufianto Salleh (CYL), Syafiq Bin Iderus, Faris Azienuddin, Shannon Stephen, Tajeli Salamat (all NFA U18)
Midfielders: Anumanthan Kumar, Rihdo Jefri (both NFA U18), Faris Ramli, Nazrul Nazari, Shamil Sharif, Faiz Salleh, Zulfahmi Arifin (all CYL), Basil Teo (Geylang United)
Forwards: Amy Recha Pristifana (Geylang United), Syafiq Zainal, Fareez Farhan (both CYL), Fuad Ramli (NFA U18)