Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Stange open to naturalised foreign talent for Singapore

The Lions boss admits that there are a few names he has in mind for the process, with some likely to form part of the selection side to face Juventus in the National Stadium opener

Singapore coach Bernd Stange is welcome to the idea of naturalising foreigners to play for the national team, if they can give the Lions a boost.

The German stated that it was his preference to look towards youth when he was appointed back in May last year has now admitted that he is open to giving opportunities to talented youngsters in the S.League.

Speaking at a media luncheon for the friendly against Juventus in August, Stange revealed that some of these players would be nominated when he puts forward the Singapore Selection side to face the Serie A champions.

"I will choose one, two or three players from our S.League if I feel they deserve to play against Juventus and if I believe they have a chance to maybe become Singaporeans and support our football development," he said.

"There are very few players who have the chance to play for Singapore soon, because you know Fifa rules state that they have to stay for a long time (five years) here and then, they can apply for a passport.

"I have a few players in my mind now and at the end of July, I will nominate them. I am not ready to mention any names now."

The 66-year-old pointed out that such a process had been "successful" for Singapore in the past, with the likes of Mustafic Fahrudin (Serbia), Aleksandar Duric (Bosnia), Daniel Bennett (England), Precious Emuejeraye (Nigeria) and Qiu Li (China) starring in various Suzuki Cup-winning campaigns.

"Now, our Suzuki Cup team is a team of players who were all born in Singapore," Stange said. "It is a young team and it would be good to have one or two top-class players who are available and who are ready to play for Singapore."

Some of the players Stange is believed to be keeping an eye on are Courts Young Lions duo Sherif El-Masri and Jordan Webb (both Canadians), along with Home United defender Sirina Camara (France) and Balestier Khalsa's Paul Cunningham (New Zealand).

Stange also described the National Stadium opener against the Italian giants as a "highlight" for the country as a whole and stated that the squad would be revealed after a training trip to Europe.

"As you know, we will go with two teams, the 'A' national team and the SEA Games squad," he said.

"We have a chance to prepare them for two weeks in Austria and we should try... to bring the best of what we can do [against Juventus].

"I personally hope for a good crowded stadium and it is a good chance to see the facilities and stars here. We will definitely have the best available team and for me it (the game) is a matter of priority."

A star-studded Juventus side, expected to feature a host of first-team stars like Gianluigi Buffon, Andrea Pirlo, Paul Pogba and Carlos Tevez will take on the Singapore Selection side on August 16 in the first football event at the new National Stadium. Tickets have already gone on sale.

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