SINGAPORE — The Singapore national women’s team is set to face Pakistan in an international ‘A’ friendly match on Jul 18 at the Jalan Besar Stadium. This will be their first competitive match since participating in the 2023 SEA Games in Cambodia back in May. Football fans can also catch the live broadcast of the match on the Football Association’s YouTube page.
It will be the first encounter between the two teams. Singapore is ranked 131, while their opponents are in 26 spots below them in the FIFA rankings. While the players and Singapore head coach Karim Bencherifa were looking forward to the match, there were uncertainties leading up to the weekend as their opponents encountered difficulties with their country’s sports administrators while preparing for this friendly.
The upcoming match will mark the first-ever meeting between the two teams. Singapore is ranked 131st, while their opponents are in 26 spots lower in the FIFA rankings. The players and Singapore’s head coach, Karim Bencherifa, were eagerly anticipating the match. However, uncertainties arise in the days leading up to the match due to complications faced by their opponents with their country’s sports administrators during the preparation for this friendly encounter.
Initially, there were concerns regarding the Pakistan Sports Board granting the necessary approval for the Pakistan national women’s football team to travel outside of the country and participate in a friendly match against Singapore.
Local media in Pakistan reported that the Pakistan Football Federation initially submitted a request for a ‘no objection certificate’ on Jun 27. However, due to the Hari Raya Haji holidays, the Pakistan Sports Board only received the request on July 3. A letter shared on Twitter by Shaza Fatima Khawaja, a member of Pakistan’s National Assembly, confirmed that the team received approval from the relevant government ministry on July 13. The Pakistan team is scheduled to depart for Singapore on Sunday morning, departing from Lahore.
Now that the issue troubling the Pakistan national women’s team has been resolved, the match looks set to go ahead as planned and Singapore’s head coach Bencherifa can look forward to it. This match presents a valuable opportunity for him to prepare the players for future competitions.
“I am confident in seeing a display of passion and determination from our women’s team in this friendly match. I do believe we have the potential to fare well against Pakistan. The match will also be an opportunity for fresh faces to emerge. This will also be a part of our preparations for the upcoming Asian Games in September,” said Bencherifa.
Bencherifa was at the helm when the Lionesses played in the previous SEA Games. They finished third in Group B, winning one match, and losing the remaining two games. Singapore opened the tournament with a 4-0 loss to Thailand, before they went down 1-0 to hosts Cambodia. They picked up three points in their final group matches with a 2-1 win over Laos.
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