Singapore U20 started the AFC U20 Asian Cup games with a crucial point in their quest to progress through the next round of the tournament. In a game where Singapore lined up in a 4-2-3-1, the team lacked technicality and composure in possession, which led Tajikistan to have more possession and was able to recycle it easily as Singapore’s passing and decision-making were appalling. However, it was a solid display by their defence and goalkeeper to keep a clean sheet, partly with Tajikistan’s wasted opportunities and poor finishing.
- A1 – Very good, could play higher
- A2 – Strong potential to play higher
- B1 – Good, strong player at level
- B2 – Potential to be a strong player at level
- C – Average for the level, rewatch
- D – Below average in this match
- Nationality: Singaporean
- Age: 17
- Date of birth: 24/12/2004
- Club: Hougang United
- Career: Albirex Niigata (S), Hougang United
- Position: Goalkeeper
- Preferred foot: Right
Aizil Yazid is a 17-year-old goalkeeper who currently plays at Hougang United. Standing at 1.77 meters tall with a normal build, he isn’t the tallest for a goalkeeper but he remains commanding and has a great leap. Already been given a professional debut for his club, Aizil impressed many as was undoubtedly the man of the match and kept the Lions a valuable point and clean sheet. Although the Singaporean may lack height as a goalkeeper, he isn’t shy in claiming crosses and punching the ball away. He comes off his line and tries to read where the ball would be crossing to. He would leap high to claim crosses and punch balls coming from set pieces. However, I felt that his judgment in attempting to get the ball is one of his weaknesses. He would misjudge the flight of the ball and create unnecessary danger to his team. In the games he played for the U20 Asian Cup, I’ve seen him missing the ball a few times and being punished.
One of his attributes that stands out is his reflexes. His ability and instinct to react in a short period in diving in to save make him a difficult goalkeeper to score against. He is capable to react to make saves using his legs too. His other strength is that his positioning allowed him to position himself well before anticipating a shot. He has strong hands to parry the ball away from the goal. In my opinion, his weakness is his handling, as he mishandle shots and crosses that led him to drop or parry a loose ball into a dangerous position.
Aizil is a good distributor on the ball as he finds his teammate as accurate as possible. He has a good technique in strong goal kick which could create a dangerous 50-50 contested ball into the opponent’s defensive third. He is confident with the ball on his feet and does not panic often when being pressured. He would suit well to a team that plays possession-based.
Rating – A2
Aizil has the qualities to be a great modern goalkeeper. His height is the main concern, but as he is still 17 years old, I can only hope he grows a few centimetres taller so that he’ll be able to deal with crosses and aerial duels better. His strengths are evident to see and can be further refined and polished, whilst his weaknesses can be improved through experience and training. I could see him gaining interest from top clubs across Singapore and some neighbouring countries.
- Nationality: Singaporean
- Age: 18
- Date of birth: 06/12/2003
- Club: Hougang United U21
- Career: Hougang United U21
- Position: Centre-Midfield
- Preferred foot: Right
Ajay played as the left centre midfield in Singapore’s 4-2-3-1 formation and had a great game. He wasn’t shy of praises from fans as they appreciated his performance. Standing around 5’11 with a normal build, Ajay possesses aggressiveness in winning the ball and tackling his opponents. His willingness to pressure his opponent high up paired up with great stamina, ensure that he was able to last the whole 90 minutes. Although with great stamina, the mental side of his game was affected. As soon as the game closes on, he was easily beaten on numerous occasions, as he stood in a flat-footed position. There was a situation in which he stood flat-footed and was beaten easily, and his teammate then carelessly conceded a penalty. The Singaporean midfielder’s acceleration is superb too. His ability to accelerate to intercept the ball and burst his pace to get the 2nd ball.
Ajay would position himself as the lone midfielder when building up. He would look to try and evade pressure by passing to his fullbacks or midfielders. The Singaporean out of possession would press very high up the pitch, looking to win the ball in the opponent’s defensive third. However, by doing so, he leaves a big gap between the midfield and his defenders. A change of instruction led him to keep close with the backline in the 2nd half. As the game prolongs, Ajay would find it hard to cope with the intensity and would misposition himself in certain areas when Tajikistan’s players were in Singapore’s defending third.
Ajay isn’t technically consistent in his passing. Sometimes it was rushed and the execution of his long balls was not great. However, he has the time to polish his passing technique and the weight of the ball. His small touches allow him to get away from his opponent brilliantly. He has the ability to carry the ball whilst retaining possession, which he did not lose that many against Tajikistan. Ajay was probably the only player in my opinion who was calm on the ball and retain possession when being pressured or closed down.
Rating – B1
The Singaporean was one of the few outfielders who stand out in this game. In a nervy game, Ajay has shown more composure to retain possession against a dominant Tajikistan team. It is too early to verdict his potential as he is still young and just getting exposure nationally and internationally. However judging by this match and with constant progression, I won’t be surprised that he’ll make a professional debut soon.