Before the Lions go for their fifth title win at the upcoming AFF Suzuki Cup, we speak to Singapore national team captain, Shahril Ishak, and gather his thoughts.
As captain of the Singapore team, how do you aim to inspire your fellow teammates?
“It’s a great honor for me to be captain of the Singapore team. Knowing I’ve been given the opportunity to feel the weight of the responsibilities and make a difference also inspires me set a good example for my team mates both on and off the field. I believe it’s very important for me as a leader to be respectful to them and encourage them when things get tough.”
You spent a year playing for Malaysian club Johor Darul Takzim II. What qualities have you developed during your time there that you hope to share with the Singapore team?
“Playing for Johor Darul Takzim II has made me a stronger player physically and mentally. Among the many qualities I’ve developed, one is to lead by example. I let my legs do the talking and hope the youngsters will be inspired by my presence.
However, the most significant quality which I think I developed while playing across the Causeway is that I’ve become more patient. Traveling to and from Johor Bahru to train everyday can be very tiring, but it has inadvertently made me love my job more and be more passionate about my career. It’s not easy, but all I can say is this is life. This is professional football, and this is my love for football.”
How do you think the new National Team Kit will help enhance the team’s performance?
“I think the new National Team Kit looks fantastic and we’re proud to wear the Singapore flag on our chest. The innovation behind the jersey allows sweat to be drawn away from the body rapidly, which is important for players as we want to feel as comfortable as we can while playing in this weather.”
Are there any particular players to look out for in this year’s Singapore team for the AFF Suzuki Cup?
“I think Safuwan Baharudin and Hariss Harun are the players to look out for this year. They are young, talented and the future of the Singapore team.”
Which country do you think poses the greatest challenge to the Singapore team?
“I believe all the teams are tough but we are not afraid to go against them. We will focus and give our heart and soul to the game, and I hope we get the results we want.”
Cheer on Shahril Ishak and the rest of the Singapore team as they battle it out at the AFF Suzuki Cup 2014, starting November 22nd. Visit the AFF Suzuki Cup 2014 website for fixtures and results