Geylang International FC

Interview with Joey Sim

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Geylang International fans this season have been spoiled with countless moments of stupendous heroics from both goalkeepers this season. Siddiq Durimi and Joey Sim have been in spectacular form as they continuously thwart opposition attackers. In this week’s exclusive interview, Eagles TV speak to Joey Sim. The former National team custodian made his mark in the S-League with Sengkang Punggol after impressive performances. A move to Balestier Khalsa then saw Joey Sim grow in stature which ended with him being duly and deservedly called up for national team duty. It was a sweet moment for Joey as he was included in the 2012 AFF Suzuki winning squad. Now an Eagle, Joey works hard at his trade and is an inspiration to many aspiring stoppers. So what advice does he have for the budding goalkeepers? What does Joey think of foreign goalkeepers in the league? We speak to him and find out.

How did you start playing football and was being a goalkeeper what you wanted?

I was actually a basketball and badminton player as a young boy. Most of my friends were footballers. So one day, they told me to come along and play with them. They made me play as a goalkeeper and due to my good reflexes, I realised that I was good at it so I continued in that position.

So how did you get your career started with Home United?

Well, Bishan Stadium is relatively near my home. Word was passed around that Home United were having trials for their u18 squad so I went to try-out in what was a series of three trials. After the first trials, the coach told me that I was selected and didn’t need to go for the subsequent trials. So I played for the u18s till my NS. After three months of Basic Military Training (BMT), my vocation was to play football for the Home United squad. *laughs*

Do you feel that the position you play is more special than an outfield one?

Definitely. I think it is the most special position. A goalkeeper has to utilize his hands and legs as well as ensure he is focused at all times. There is also greater pressure that comes with being a goalkeeper compared to outfield positions.

This season, there have been abrupt changes to the coaching staff where Jorg Steinebrunner has come in as head coach mid-way through the season as well as Scott Starr being appointed as the new goalkeeping coach. How have they been beneficial to you?

I was with coach Jorg in 2009 at Sengkang Punggol so I already knew his style and his training methods so you could say that I was quite used to it. He utilises each players’ strength very well and it’s no surprise that we have collected good results under him. As for Scott, he is brilliant as well. He is very focused at what he wants to do and he takes note of every single thing I do on the pitch. He helps me to work on my weakness as well. After he came in training, intensity has gone up by 40 percent at least and I have become physically and mentally stronger.

Geylang International has two great goalkeepers in you and Siddiq Durimi. How has the competition for the goalkeeping spot been?

It is healthy competition. It makes both of work really hard for the spot. But both of us know each of us won’t get the full playing time and that is a disappointment but we want the best for the team so we keep giving our all.

Tampines recently signed a foreign goalkeeper and there are other teams who put their faith in foreign custodians. What is your take on that?

I think there are more than enough good local goalkeepers in Singapore to do the job. But coaches don’t have the trust and patience for development. Coaches want instant results so they get foreign goalkeepers. To me, it is a waste of the slot which can be used to sign a talented outfield player.

You were part of the 2012 AFF Suzuki Cup winning National squad. How was the experience like?

Of course, that was phenomenal. Being chosen as one of the best in Singapore at that time is something that I am really proud of. I took a lot away in terms of experience and witnessing the preparation, training first hand allowed me to become a better player.

Who is your inspiration when it comes to goalkeepers?

I look up to Lionel Lewis. I trained with him before at Home United so I took a lot of tips from him. He gave me a lot of guidance and he was a great mentor that I have learned a great deal from.

What is your advice for aspiring goalkeepers?

The very first principle is to be determined and focused on what you want. I wanted to be no.1 and I worked really hard for it. Secondly, you have to be disciplined and keep working hard at your weaknesses and strive to better yourself.

You face Albirex Niigata (S) tonight in the quarter-finals. Do you think that finishing first in the group is an advantage for the Eagles?

I think both team will be very prepared. The past results in the group stages show that any team can win any team.  Our goal is to get silverware, so we will give more than 100 percent. We must be prepared to face any team with the will to win. That’s the kind of mentality champions should have.

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