Eight Lion City Sailors players have been named in Takayuki Nishigaya’s 26-strong Singapore National Team’s squad which will face Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands in the upcoming FIFA international window. 

The quartet of Lionel Tan, Hafiz Nor, M. Anumanthan and Hami Syahin kept their places in the squad after being called up for the friendlies against Hong Kong and Macau in March – matches which the Lions drew 1-1 and won 1-0 respectively. 

Lions captain Hariss Harun returns to the fold after missing those two matches due to an examination, while there are also recalls for Adam Swandi and Shawal Anuar who have impressed for the Sailors in the Singapore Premier League (SPL). 

Goalkeeper Zharfan Rohaizad rounds off the Sailors’ Lions contingent and he is champing at the bit for the opportunity to make his first-ever appearance for the senior national team. 

The 26-year-old has enjoyed a standout campaign in between the sticks thus far, having played every minute of the Sailors’ 13 matches and recording the highest number of saves across the league with 50. 

“I’m happy to have gotten the trust of Coach Nishigaya and called up for this squad. It’s a huge honour for me to be called up amongst a field of top goalkeepers in the country,” said Zharfan, who was first called up to the national fold in 2019 and was also part of the 2020 ASEAN Football Federation Suzuki Cup squad. 

“I’ve always said my dream is to play for the national team one day and I really hope I’ll play a part in these two friendly matches. The decision lies with the coaches but it is also down to me – I have to put in my best to show what I’m capable of during training to get a starting opportunity,” he added.

“My target is simple – to take as much as I can from my involvement with the Lions and bring it back to club level where we are all pushing hard to win the SPL title.” 

The Lions will take on Papua New Guinea on Thursday, 15 June before entertaining the Solomon Islands three days later on Sunday, 18 June. 

Both matches will be played at the National Stadium.