In LionsXII’s two years of participation in football competitions across the causeway, there have been massive changes in the two squads. From an experienced side that finished second in the Malaysia Super League (MSL) in 2012, the squad became younger this year, but defied all odds too claim the MSL title in July. A total of more than 10 players were shown the door at the end of the 2012 campaign, with only five players who were above the age of 23 retained for the current campaign that ended with a 2-4 defeat on aggregate to ATM FA in Selayang on Friday evening
Come 2014, fans can expect more changes, and it is understood that the proposal put up for the new season will see up to eight players above the age of 23 in the squad. There are also plans to bring back former LionsXII players who now ply their trade in the Great Eastern YEO’s S-League. However, the majority of the players aged 23 and above who will be involved with the LionsXII for the new season are LionsXII regulars who will turn 24 in the coming year.
Although the objective is to retain the majority of this current squad, axrosstheline.com understand that Tampines Rovers’ stars Shahdan Sulaiman, Shaiful Esah as well as Khairul Amri are on the LionsXII’s radar as they look to reinforce the squad with senior players.
It is also believed that officials from the National team department have already spoken to the players from Tampines about the proposed movement, but nothing concrete has been offered..
Current LionsXII stars Baihakki Khaizan, Hariss Harun, Safuwan Baharudin and Isa Halim will likely not don the colors of the LionsXII in the coming season. Recent reports have suggested that Baihakki and Hariss will join the Johor Football Association’s set up, while there is a potential move for Safuwan to T-Team. Isa Halim is also another player likely to join a team from the East Coast in Malaysia.
Other senior players such as Fazrul Nawaz and Irwan Shah are believed to be deemed surplus to requirements at the LionsXII setup – a project which the FAS said time and again that it’s for developmental purposes.
The Football Association of Singapore are trying their best to retain the service of Skipper Shahril Ishak who is sought after by at least two foreign according to reports, and talks have began in view to retain the LionsXII top scorer for the 2014 season.
Players from the Courts Young Lions have also been tipped to join the LionsXII in the coming year, with players like Syazwan Buhari, Sahil Suhaimi and Afiq Yunos among those players who will be in the squad for the new season.
The current batch of players on the shortlist drafted out by the Football Association of Singapore for the new season will be offered two-year deals, in view of the 2015 Asean Super League (ASL). It is understood that the FAS are keen on building a team on their own for the newly launched league in two years time, and the players who are part of the LionsXII squad in 2014 will play in the 2015 ASL, with players from the CYL participating in the MSL to see out the final year of the terms agreed in the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed in mid-2011.
LionsXII head Coach V Sundramoorthy who has been tipped to take over the hot seat at Negeri Sembilan FA in the coming season has revealed that he will make a decision on Monday (7 October) regarding his future.