Football: Birthday surprise for Anumanthan

Brunei DPMM's Rodrigo Gral (left) in action against Courts Young Lions's Anumanthan Mohan Kumar (centre) during their S-League football match on 5 April 2012.

SINGAPORE - On Sunday was his 19th birthday.

But no other presents will be bigger than what Singapore football coach Bernd Stange has handed him - a national team call-up.

Courts Young Lions (CYL) midfielder Anumanthan Kumar could barely conceal his excitement when The New Paper congratulated him in a phone interview on Saturday.

"I was shocked when I heard about the news, and then I felt so happy," he said.

"I didn't see it coming because my team are at the bottom of the table.

"It's not going to be easy to play with the senior national players. I'm going to do my best to step up and work hard to prove myself."

On Saturday, TNP broke the news that Stange is set to give surprise call-ups to a few young players, such as CYL duo Anumanthan and 20-year-old Iqbal Hussain.

There could also be notable omissions, with midfield stalwart Mustafic Fahrudin, playmaker Shahdan Sulaiman and in-form striker Shahfiq Ghani looking set to miss out on the national team's centralised training that started on Monday and ends on Friday.

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