Geylang International FC

Captain Khairul bags Best Player Award!

“To be honest, I’m really jealous of Adam Swandi. Seeing him train with Newcastle FC is something that I can only dream off. Nevertheless, I still want to wish him all the best in the training stint there and I hope that what he takes from them is enough for him to become a better player.”

Like Adam Swandi who won the FAS Centre of Excellence Best Player Award for the U-18 league, Muhammad Khairul, who plays for the U-14 youth team, was awarded the first ever Best Player Award after the U-14 league debuted earlier this year. The award was voted by the Centre of Excellence coaches

Also the captain of the side, Khairul has put up consistent performances for the team which saw them finish second in the league table after while only conceding 6 goals in 17 matches. Through to the semi-final of the Challenge Cup sweeping Gombak United 2-0 in aggregate, the U-14 side is the strong favorites to lift the cup after rivals SAFFC and Home United were knocked out in the earlier stages.

‘Winning the Best Player Award for the COE U-14 has really been quite an achievement for me this year. To be honest, when Coach Sugunan called me to inform me that I’ve won the award, I got a shock of my life. In fact, I’m still in disbelief even now. I feel that there are better players in Hougang United, SAFFC and also Home United. Even my teammates like Shukrie and Raymond are pretty good too!” Khairul exclaimed.

Earlier this June, Khairul had a training stint with the NFA side which were preparing for a tournament in Japan. However, he didn’t manage to make it to the team because he missed majority of the trainings and till today, he rues this missed opportunity.

“In June, when the NFA squad was preparing for the Lion City cup, FAS needed another squad to participate in the tournament in Japan. I was invited for the trials but I missed some of the training sessions because Woodlands, where Sports School is located, was really far from my house. If I did attend trainings, I would reach home as late as 11pm and I don’t really have the time to catch up on my studies. Waking up for school the next morning was also virtually impossible so I had no choice,” Khairul sighed.

“Nevertheless, winning the Best Player Award has provided much consolation for me. I see this as a stepping stone to get into the National Team in the future. It may also be a blessing in disguise that I’m playing for GUFC as my teammates have played a big part in this award and they’ve really helped improve my game.”

Playing primarily as a central midfielder, Khairul has often been the pivot of his side’s attacking play. Be it penetrating dribbles down the box or spraying passes to the flanks, Khairul’s industry and unselfishness on the ball is recognized by his teammates and coaches alike.

Coach Sugunan, the U-14 coach said, “Khairul’s a very dedicated boy with a very strong sense of leadership. Till today, he has never missed any of my training sessions and has never given me any sort of problems whatsoever. I remember when he just joined GUFC, he was a very quiet boy but I encouraged him to inspire his teammates the best he can. I firmly believe that he has the potential to make it to the National Team if he keeps up his performance and most importantly, keeps his feet on the ground.”

“I think that my best traits are my commitment and hard work during training. Every time I train, I make sure I give 110%. Also, as the captain of the team, my attitude towards the team counts for a lot too. I always try to get the best out of the teammates like they’ve done for me,” he echoed with much conviction.

When I’ve finished my set of questions that I have for Khairul, I asked him if there’s anyone special he would like to thank for receiving this award.

With a chuckle, he replied “I wish to thank my coach and all my teammates. Without them, I would probably not have gotten this award. But most importantly, I want my teammates to be more focused and serious in training. Although, we’re in the semi-finals of the Challenge Cup, the upcoming matches will determine if we make or break. We’d better be wary of our opponents and play to our strengths because I sincerely believe we’ll have a strong chance of landing the cup this year.”

A leader indeed!

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