|By Khalis Rifhan
The Courts Young Lions unveiled their new squad for the upcoming 2013 S.League season at a press
conference held at Jalan Besar Stadium on Monday afternoon.
The team will be led by former national skipper Aide Iskandar, who last coached in the S.League with
Hougang United two years ago. He replaces the outgoing Robin Chitrakar, who led the Young Lions to a 10th-placed finish last season.
With most of the players from the previous season crossing over to the LionsXII in the Malaysian Super League, Aide was given the task of assembling a new team for the new campaign.
Despite having a relatively young squad, the Young Lions can still boast exciting and promising players such as former Hougang United winger Ignatius Ang and a trio of former Gombak United players.
Fareez Farhan, who joined the Young Lions midway in 2012, will be joined by his colleagues Nur Na’iim and Samuel Benjamin. Defender Afiq Yunos and midfielder Fazli Ayob, both 23, will be on hand to guide their younger teammates.
Aide is pleased to be given the opportunity to guide the Young Lions team and hopes that the stands will be filled when the season starts.
“I am both humbled and excited to lead Young Lions this year and I thank FAS for this opportunity,” Aide said.
“We have a much younger squad this season [and] it’s an invaluable opportunity for them to step up and impress in order to get into the SEA Games squad this year.
"We’re also one of the best-supported clubs in the league and I hope more fans will turn up."
The former centreback, who skippered Singapore to victory in the AFF Suzuki Cup in 2005 and 2007, believes the Young Lions play an important role in preparing players for the transition to the national team.
“The participation of Courts Young Lions has enhanced youth development in past decade," Aide pointed out.
"Many players have progressed to represent Singapore in FIFA World Cup Qualifiers and AFF Suzuki Cup competitions."
Football Association of Singapore (FAS) president Zainudin Nordin is hopeful that the new coach will be
able to inspire the young players to do well in the league and promised that Aide would be given the full support of the association.
“The Courts Young Lions forms a key component of our comprehensive youth development structure, which has been singled out for praise by leading football officials," he said.
“We are confident that the appointment of former national skipper Aide Iskandar as the new coach will have a positive influence on the Courts Young Lions players, many of whom have the potential to be called up to the national team within the next few years.
“Moving forward, FAS will continue to provide the best level of support to the team, whenever possible, and we will work closely with Aide as we strive towards achieving our footballing objectives including youth development, as stated in the FAS Strategic Plan.”
The press conference also saw the renewal of Courts' partnership with the Young Lions for the 2013 campaign, with Zainudin and CEO of Courts Asia Limited Terry O’Connor both expressing their happiness at the continuation of their collaboration.
“We are especially delighted and grateful to Courts and all our sponsors for their generous support over the years and we look forward to collaborating with them over a long-term period and towards achieving mutually benefitting outcomes for both parties,” Zainudin said.
Courts Young Lions 2013 S.League squad list
|15||DF||Sheikh Abdul Hadi|
|6||MF||Anumanthan S/O Mohan Kumar|
|14||MF||Nur Na’iim Ishak|
|24||MF||Nur Ridho Jafri|
|12||FW||Nicholas Marc Cher|