Five-time S.League champions Tampines Rovers have signed six players from the LionsXII, the defunct Malaysian Super League (MSL) side, in a bid to recapture the championship that they ceded to Brunei DPMM on the last day of this season.
Tampines chairman Krishna Ramachandra, 44, confirmed on Thursday (Dec 10) that they have recruited defenders Hafiz Abu Sujad and Afiq Yunos, midfielder Izzdin Shafiq and striker Sufian Anuar. Two others – midfielders Firdaus Kasman and Christopher van Huizen – are returning to the Stags, whom they had played for before joining the LionsXII for this season’s MSL.
Tampines’ signings mean they now have four current Singapore internationals in their squad: Hafiz, Izzdin, Fazrul and Van Huizen.
The LionsXII players became available to S.League clubs after the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) decided last month not to include the team in the 2016 MSL season. The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) initially considered entering the LionsXII for the S.League, but decided last week to release all the players and make them available to S.League clubs.
The Stags – who are coached by V Sundramoorthy – are not only gunning for the league title, but are also attempting to qualify for the Asian Champions League. They have to beat Mohun Bagan of India, China’s Shandong Luneng and then Adelaide United in the preliminary rounds in order to do so. If they do not succeed, they will play in the AFC Cup where they will be grouped with MSL side Selangor, Philippines side Ceres and Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi of Bangladesh.
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