Geylang International FC

GUFC interviews Muhammad Khairul!

Probably the most vocal player of the U-14 side, Muhammad Khairul is frequently spotted directing his arms in different directions, initiating set plays and lauding his team mates on the pitch. Aside from being a free-kick specialist, his ability to provide defence-splitting passes and sublime lobs from the midfield has made him one of the most dangerous players of the U-14 side.

“It has been great. Initially it was really difficult for me. You know, I’m really kind of a shy person but being the captain of the team has taken me out of my comfort zone and circumstances has molded me to become a more outspoken person,” says Khairul, the captain of the U-14 side.

Muhammad Khairul was first scouted by current Head of Youth and Development, Coach Khidhir Khamis earlier this year when he was playing in the East-zone tournament for Bedok North Secondary School. He then proceeded to attend trials for the U-14 side and made the team shortly after.

When asked what actually made him want to play football for his school in the first place, Khairul replied, “Well, I’ve been playing football since I was 10! So football has actually been part of my life ever since I was of a very young age. Watching the EPL on T.V definitely has an influence but I guess the main reason for my heavy interest in football has to be my friends. “

“Almost all my friends play football! We would play it everywhere! In the court, on the field, under the void deck, you name it we’ve played it.”

Being a secondary school student, juggling football and school work has not been easy. With training sessions up to 4 times a week, Khairul would reach home only at about 10pm during days where he has trainings. Even on days he doesn’t have training with the U-14 side, Khairul has commitments to his secondary school’s football team so it’s almost every day that he reaches home after dinnertime.

“I never failed to get nagged at by my parents! They said I play too much football!” he laughs.

“Well, of course it’s hard. Though I really love football, I must ensure that I do not neglect my studies. I must pay extra attention in class as I feel that if you do pay attention in class, a lot of learning can be there and then. Also, I will bring my textbooks wherever I go so that I will get to read them whenever I’m on the train or the bus. All these little effort outside the school curriculum has helped me a lot in learning. “

“When I get home it’s always about 10pm or maybe even later. There isn’t really any time for revision of any sort. Sometimes I fall asleep while doing my homework!” Khairul tells GUFC.

Currently in Secondary 2, Khairul plays for the C Division boys’ football team for Bedok North Secondary School. Fearing that he might not be able to cope with both studies and football, GUFC asked Khairul why doesn’t he concentrate on football with just GUFC or the school instead of both.

Khairul replied, “Well, there’s a very huge difference between the trainings at GUFC and school’s training. I learn a lot more from GUFC. Coach Sugunan’s (U-14 coach) coaching is very different from the school’s coaching. In GUFC, we focus more on fitness and advanced ballwork whereas in school, it’s more of the simpler drills. Sugunan also has a very special way of motivating us to play better. It’s like his weapon you know.”

“The standard of football is also rather different when you compare the COE to the schools as the players in the COE are definitely playing at a higher level.  To play in the COE, you really need to have the basics drilled into you first before you can commit yourself into more advanced techniques in football. I really look forward to the trainings with GUFC as it’s really very enjoyable and fun. We’re all like a family now.”

With 30 points out of the maximum 39, GUFC’s U-14 side currently lies in 2nd place behind Home United who has 34 points. With 5 more games remaining and one being against Home United, landing the U-14 league title is a very realistic possibility come October.

“I think the current team has the right mix of players. We’re also playing an attractive brand of football which I feel is very important for the development of the players. The way that GUFC plays complements my game which is why I feel confident going into every game, no matter the opponent.”

“Nevertheless, I still think there’s room for improvement in the team. I think that one aspect that we can improve on is that the team needs to be scoring more goals against our opponents. Defensively, we’re very good as we’ve only conceded 4 goals during the course of 13 matches,” Khairul tells GUFC.

Only his first year with GUFC, Khairul certainly has big aspirations for the team. He wishes to play for the Prime League and eventually make the cut for the senior team in the S-League. But for now, Khairul says he will do his best for his team to ensure that the U-14 side will eventually lift the title come October and also the challenge cup in November.

–          Khairul supported Home United and Tampines Rovers when he was younger.

–          His favourite food is Roti Prata and his favourite drink is Bandung

–          Feels that Raimonjit Singh is the U-14 side’s best player as he can play in any position.

–          Khairul’s favourite player in the S-League is Michael King.

–          If Khairul wasn’t playing football professionally, he would most likely be a floorball player.

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