LIONSXII are determined to regain Singapore's proud record in the Malaysia Cup when they return to the competition, which begins on Aug 22, for the first time after 18 years.
Coach V. Sundramoorthy, who had won the title three times with different teams, is optimistic his side will raise their game and bring back the trophy to Singapore for the 25th time since their last win in 1994.
Lions, comprising 13 players with international caps, hope to build on their creditable second-place effort behind Kelantan in the Super League by first topping Group A, also comprising PKNS, Johor FC and Premier League side Johor.
"I am quite happy because we got what I was hoping for -- both the Johor teams. The short trips to Johor means some of our players serving national service may not have to take leave." said Sundramoorthy recently.
"Our target is to reach the quarter-finals and anything beyond that will depend on our form," added the coach.
On the team's training progress, Sundramoorthy revealed his side are ready.
"It's not as simple as saying we will perform well in the Malaysia Cup just because we did well in the league. But if we prepare well, work hard and focus on what we have to do, I think we have a chance," said the former international.
Singapore are the second-most successful side in the Malaysia Cup competition after Selangor, who have lifted the trophy 33 times.
The Lions, however, will be without captain Shahril Ishak, their top scorer with 11 goals for the group stage, as he is nursing a shoulder injury.
"Except for Shahril, we will have a full strength squad. His absence, however, will be felt but I have able replacements," said Sundramoorthy.
The draw also throws up a keenly-anticipated clash between Sundramoorthy and former strike partner Fandi Ahmad, who is the technical director of Johor FA.
"It will be good for the fans that Fandi will be back with his Johor FA team. It should be an entertaining match," Sundramoorthy added.
Lions open their campaign against Johor FC in Pasir Gudang on Aug 22.