Just how close (or far) is the Singapore national women’s team in qualifying for the FIFA Women’s World Cup?
The upcoming Women’s Olympic Tournament 2024 Asian qualifiers in Thailand could provide some answers.
Unfortunately, Singapore’s Lionesses will have to face off against Thailand on 1 April, who made the finals of the World Cup in 2015 and 2019 to know just where we stand.
Thailand’s women team is currently ranked 44th in the world while Singapore’s Lionesses are in 134th spot.
For newly appointed national women’s coach Karim Bencherifa, this will be his first test after being appointed to the role in February 2023.
Apart from Thailand, Singapore will come up against Mongolia in Group D of the Asian qualifiers to be held in Chonburi.
Mongolia are also ranked higher than Singapore and find themselves in 128th spot.
“The Lionesses have a busy schedule this month and this qualifier will be a good way to prepare for our upcoming tournaments like the SEA Games,” he is quoted on the Football Association of Singapore official website.
The 55-year-old Moroccan added that the players were selected based on their performances in the Women’s Premier League and other age group tournaments.
“There will be a blend of experience and youth as my coaching staff and I are keen on exposing the talented young players to the rigours of international football,” he said.
Veteran Ernie Sulastri with 55 caps to her name is among the players who received the call-up, as did overseas-based Danelle Tan and Putri Syaliza.
Farah Nurzahirah and Erlinawaty Jaafar are the two debutants in the squad.
“Thailand and Mongolia are strong opponents, and the girls will need more time to get used to my demands and my playing style,” said the former Woodlands Wellington coach.
“That being said, anything can happen in football, and I will prepare the girls as much as we can, and I have faith that they will be able to put up a credible showing at the qualifiers.”
MAIN PHOTO: FAS