Interview with Aliff Shafaein
By Deepanraj Ganesan on 22 May 2014
The name, Aliff Shafaein is one that has been used numerous times over the years in the S-League. More so, by opposition defenders as they yell out at one another to try to stop the diminutive, fleet footed forward. One of the most experienced players that still ply their trade in the league, Aliff is a player well respected by fans of the league as well as fellow players. A sterling career has seen him bring his trademark trickery and dazzling dribbling to top clubs such as Home United FC, SAFFC (now known as Warriors FC), Tanjong Pagar United FC and Tampines Rovers FC. Several years ago, off the field trouble landed Aliff in hot water. But the forward, who is often seen being cheerful steered his career back on track and has since never looked back. Now, with Geylang International FC, the forward has already opened his account for the season whilst also turning in impressive displays. The former Singapore International sat down with Eagles TV to discuss his start to football, his views on the league and also took time to answer questions asked by the Eagles supporters.
Was being a football player something you always wanted?
Yes, since school days’ time. I was talent spotted when I was in Primary 3 and then I got into school squads and eventually I am now playing in the S-League.
You faced a difficult period in your life. Did you feel like quitting football or was it football that helped you?
It never crossed my mind to quit football. My parents and wife supported me all the way.
Who were your biggest supports during the tough periods of your life?
Of course it was my parents. Now, it’s my wife and daughter. They are the most important things in my life.
You are always happy during training. What’s your secret to being so lively?
We have problems outside but we shouldn’t bring it onto the pitch. Whenever I step into the stadium, I try to be livelier.
Since you started playing in the league, more foreigners have arrived. Does it help the league and the local players?
Frankly, now the foreigners aren’t as good as the ones that were in the league when it started. Some local players are even better than these foreigners.
What do you think needs to be done to get the fans back to the stadium?
Of course there needs to be money pumped in. Money to get good foreigners in so the fans can come and watch.
What is your advice to younger players?
Don’t give up. If you want something in life, don’t ever give up and just grab it.
How long more do you see yourself playing in the league?
Like I said on my birthday, I want to play as long as Aleksander Duric. But I’m not as fit as him but I will play as long as my body can take it.
Aliff in action at IFA Shield in Kolkata.
QUESTIONS FROM THE SUPPORTERS
Who is the best coach you played under?
There are two. One would be Bernard Lan, my former coach at Home United. He said even though I was small built, I had the talent to prove everyone wrong. Another would be my head coach at Tampines Rovers, Vorawan Chitavanich
How has your new born daughter influenced you as a person and as a footballer?
Even though I am down after the game, she always makes me smile. She helps me forget about the game
What would you do after Football?
Be a Kitman. Abang Halim(former kitman)has resigned and I thought I would take the job but I still want to play football so no choice.
In an interview with REDCARDTV, you mentioned you wanted to date coach Kanan. Why him?
If I date a beautiful girl, firstly my wife will be angry. Another thing, I can just look at her. But with Kanan, I can talk to him for a whole day
How were you recruited into the National Team?
Of course when you are in the Young Lions squad, you will get to play for the national team. It is the easiest way to get into the team *Laughs*
What made you join Geylang International FC?
Because of its history and one of the legends, Fandi Ahmad played here.
How do you overcome pressure?
I think of my daughter and smile, and tell myself that whatever it is, I will overcome it
How do you motivate your teammates during half time when the score isn’t going your way?
Normally, every interval I will keep to myself and relax. I will let the coach do the talking. After that I will encourage the younger players to not worry about the result and do their best.
How do you think Geylang International will fare in the Singapore Cup?
We need to concentrate on the cup competition. In our group, we have local clubs so we have to aim for the final.