Lions have fun, before the serious business

Lions' coach Bernd Stange (right) giving instruction to Adam Swandi (centre) and Abdil Qaiyyim during a training session in May 2013. The country's national coach picked Shakira's Waka Waka and Psy's Gangnam Style for the three Lions who made their debut on Tuesday against Myanmar, and instructed them to sing and dance as an initiation rite during training yesterday.

SINGAPORE - He Opted for Rod Stewart's 1995 song Purple Heather to inspire the Lions when he first met the team.

This time, Singapore national coach Bernd Stange picked Shakira's Waka Waka and Psy's Gangnam Style for the three Lions who made their debut on Tuesday against Myanmar, instructing them to sing and dance as an initiation rite during training yesterday.

To howls of laughter and applause in the 30,000-capacity New Laos National Stadium, Shariff Allapitchay, 29, Faritz Abdul Hameed, 22, and 17-year-old Adam Swandi were game, even performing the galloping moves made famous by the South Korean Psy.

The celebrations began earlier in the day as the team came together for Qiu Li's 32nd birthday, but once training started, there was no horsing around by the ASEAN champions.

One issue that irked Stange was the turf, which he felt was uneven and full of potholes.

But the 25-man squad were unfazed.

They were clearly in a good mood after quickly getting the hang of Stange's style and winning plaudits for their first-half performance in the 2-0 win over Myanmar.

The squad were split up for a game yesterday played in just one half of the pitch, and Khairul Amri, a scorer on Tuesday, put on an exhibition with two strikes off overhead kicks.

Tonight's friendly against Laos is Singapore's final A international before the crucial Asian Cup qualifier against Oman at Jalan Besar Stadium on Aug 14.

Three more players - defender Abdil Qaiyyim and midfielders Hafiz Nor and Gabriel Quak - are still awaiting their first senior cap, but it appears not all of them will get it tonight.

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