Safuwan Baharudin in scoring form in Malaysia, ready for Singapore games
Midfielder Safuwan Bahrudin will bring a rich vein of scoring form to the Singapore national team for the June internationals on home soil, including the June 13 friendly against Argentina.
The 25-year-old has bagged eight goals in his last six games for Premier League outfit PDRM FA to remind coach V. Sundramoorthy of his value.
Safuwan travelled from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore on Sunday ahead of national training this week, with the Lions facing up to Myanmar (friendly, June 10) and Chinese Taipei (Asian Cup qualifier, June 13) at Jalan Besar Stadium.
That will be followed by the much-anticipated clash against Lionel Messi and the No. 2-ranked South American at the National Stadium.
Safuwan, who has earned 68 caps since 2010, is confident that Singapore will give a good account of themselves.
"It will be tough because seven days with three games is never easy," Safuwan told ESPN FC. "The most important game is the Chinese Taipei game because we know that we can get maximum points against them playing at Jalan Besar."
Singapore began their 2019 AFC Asian Cup qualifying campaign with a gutsy 0-0 draw away to Bahrain on March 28.
But while the performance was good, it did again underline the Lions' lack of a cutting edge up front. They've scored only three times in their last nine internationals.
However, Safuwan is hopeful that his own hot run will combine with the in-form likes of Faris Ramil, Khairul Amri and Shahril Ishak, to help Singapore re-find their scoring touch.
"I was back for some of the S.League games for the past two months, and went to different stadiums with my wife to watch," he said.
"Most of the local boys are in fine form. Good scoring touches, and helping with assists for the other teammates to score. So, we are definitely hoping to get a few goals in the Chinese Taipei game."
Safuwan wants to help PDRM earn promotion back to the Malaysia Super League after being relegated on the final day of last season. They moved up to seventh in the second tier, seven points off the top two, after a 4-1 victory over PKNP on May 25, with Safuwan scoring twice.
"It's going well with PDRM," Safuwan said. "It's maybe a surprise for people back in Singapore [that I am scoring so many goals], but I think my form is good. I just need time to settle down in all the positions they put me in to play."
In 2015, Safuwan became the first Singaporean to play in the A-League, scoring twice during a four-month loan spell with Melbourne City.
The versatile former LionsXII star played as a full-back in Australia, but made his mark at international level as a central defender before moving to a box-to-box midfield role for both club and country.
Jason Dasey is ESPN FC Senior Editor in Singapore. Formerly Asian editor of FourFourTwo, he was also a CNN and BBC broadcaster. Twitter: @JasonDasey.