Geylang International FC

Interview with Jalal Jasim

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. A name that most football fans would remember, not just for his goals but also for his deadly smile that had the capabilities to swoon even a rival fan. His youthful looks earned him the moniker, “the Baby Faced Assassin”.

But miles away from England, there is one man who has equally charming looks and is the local “baby faced assassin”.  But instead of thumping the net with strikes like the Norwegian, Singapore’s Jalal Jasim is a tenacious defender who never backs out of a tackle.

The Geylang International defender is now a S.League veteran who has been a professional player for 16 years.  Jalal has been a trusted member of the Eagles side for the last two years. His set-piece ability has also proved to be beneficial to the side on many occasions with a swivel of his left boot often resulting in goalmouth action for Geylang.

Eagles TV caught up with Jalal Jasim to know more about how he started playing the beautiful game, his toughest opposition he has faced and his thoughts on how the league has progressed.

How did you start playing football?

I was influenced by my older brother. He used to play a lot of football at the void deck so I tagged along one day and from there I developed an interest in football and wanted to become a footballer.

How did your journey as a professional footballer begin?

My friends and I were told about the Jurong FC trials and we went for it. I was selected and ever since I have spent 16 years in the S-League for various clubs. .

How did the move to Geylang International come about?

Coach Mike Wong who was in charge in 2012, called me up and asked if I was interested to play for him at Geylang. I had it in the mind that Geylang was one of the biggest clubs in Singapore so I was happy to make the move and become an Eagle.

Over the years in the league, has there been one foreigner who has stood out for you?

In terms of a stand-out player, I’m not too sure but there is one player who was really very professional. He would come earlier before training to do some stretching and then stay behind after training to work on his skills. He was a top professional and that was Jozef Kaplan.

Who has been the toughest opposition player that you have come up against in the league?

Nobody comes to mind actually.

You came to Geylang as a left midfielder but you were converted into a left back. What was the reason for that?

Coach Kanan at that time told me that I would do well as a left back because I had the composure and technique to excel in that position. I thought why not give it a go and  especially given my age, I had the experience to play that role.

Would you rather play at left midfield or left back?

Previously, I loved playing left midfielder but now I prefer playing at left back. It all matters on who plays beside you because when I first started at left back, I had Shahril Alias beside me who really guided me and helped me out.. Defending is all about teamwork so if your teammates in defence play well, it’s quite a comfortable role.

You have a son. Would you want him to be a footballer?

Definitely no, especially not in Singapore. The football environment here is not good for a footballer, not like last time. Now, there is so much of favouritism in the system. Anyways, my son like to eat and sleep only so I don’t think he would want to play football anyway *laughs*

You are one of the older players in the league. How long more do you feel you can keep going?

It depends on the motivation. If there is motivation, the player will push himself to the limit.  I will reflect at the end of the season and then decide if I want to keep going or not.

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