Singapore have scored only six goals in 13 matches since coach V Sundram Moorthy took over from Bernd Stange in May last year. The goal-scoring woes though are going to end when the Lions take on Chinese Taipei in the AFC Asian Cup Group E clash on Saturday, according to Home United's in-form winger Faris Ramli.
Sundram's side have not produced positive results in the recent past as they were dumped out of last year's AFF Suzuki Cup as early as in the group stages, which was also their worst-ever performance at the biennial tournament. Also, under the 51-year-old tactician, the 160th-ranked side won only one of their first seven games.
However, Singapore started the Asian Cup qualifying campaign on a high when they held higher-ranked Bahrain to a 0-0 draw on the road. With quite a few in-form forwards in the 27-man squad, which started training for Saturday's clash at Amara Hotel, Singapore are gearing up to earn a win on Saturday and strengthen their chances of qualifying for the group stages of the tournament for the first time since 1984.
"Against Taiwan, we are definitely going for the win. Whether I play as a forward or as a winger, I will try my best to get goals and assists but, what matters most is not personal glory, but the three points," Ramli said, as quoted by The New Paper.
"The national team have not scored that many goals recently, and we are eager to fix that. The good news is, players like [Khairul] Amri, [Khairul] Nizam, Safuwan [Baharudin] and myself are scoring regularly in the S.League and Malaysian Premier League."
Notably, Ramli has been a key factor in the Protectors solid run in the S.League. With seven goals, which includes four in their 9-3 win over 2015 champions Brunei DPMM, the 24-year-old has forged a formidable combination with red-hot Stipe Plazibat at the front for Home.
Ramli was plagued by injuries last season, which was also his first year with the Protectors after he had joined them from the now-defunct Lions XII. The winger credits his current goal-scoring form to his coach Aidil Sharin, who has used the winger in a central role, more often than not. The Singapore international also has a special mention for his wife Syahzanna Hamzah, whom he married in April this year, according to the news report.
"I am thankful for Home United coach Aidil Sharin's trust in me to play me in a more central position. I was able to learn and adjust my game to suit my teammate Stipe (Plazibat), and I am happy and excited to contribute goals and assists," Ramli added.
"Ever since I started playing football, my parents have always been there for me. My wife has also been incredible. She has been behind me all this while. Even when she cannot attend my games, she will send me a text of encouragement, which means a lot."