Interview with Mustaqim Manzur
By Andrew Ang on 27 March 2014
Terrorizer of fullbacks across the S.League over the years and even a four time S.League winner, former Singapore national team player has brought his dazzling boots to the Bedok stadium this season in search of bringing the glory days back to the white and green army. One of the crowd favourites at the Bedok Stadium, Mustaqim Manzur, the former Gombak United, Home United, Young Lions and Singapore Armed Forces (now known as Warriors FC) player sits down with the Geylang International Media Team, to talk about his favourite player, amongst other issues and he even goes in depth when asked about what should be done to increase the viewership of the local league.
How did you start playing football?
I started playing football at 12 years old when my primary school teacher introduced me to the game and asked me to go for selection with what was known as the Milo Scheme at that time. From then, I rose through the ranks right up to the Lion City cup, to the NFA under 18s. From there I graduated to the Home United Prime League side where eventually I made my S.League debut at the age of 20. Since then, I have played for other clubs like Gombak and Young Lions before a successful stint (winning four league titles and the Singapore Cup) with the Warriors. And now, I am proud to be part of Geylang International.
How was the experience like playing in the Asian Champions League?
It was definitely an eye opener and it was a whole new level compared to the quality in the local league. A single team’s budget is perhaps bigger than the budget of the whole league so you can imagine the type of quality they have in the competition. Our boys in Singapore have to look beyond our shores and play at that level, then our quality in Singapore football will improve.
Since young, has it always been football that you wanted to pursue?
It’s been football all the while but I had a deal with my mother. She would allow letting me play, provided I did well in school. So I got my diploma in manufacturing engineering. *Smiles*
So, are there any plans to go into the engineering industry after you hang up your boots eventually?
At the moment, no. I just signed up for a Sports and Physical education degree at the Singapore Institute of Management. If I am selected, I will be doing my degree course in July. I want to stay in the sports industry or perhaps be a teacher like my mother.
How did the move to Geylang International come about?
The head coach at that time, Vedhamuthu Kanan expressed his interest in signing me and I was flattered to be given the opportunity to don the famous green and white. It is a proud moment for me because Geylang International has got a pedigree given its history and I am happy to play at the Bedok Stadium.
Who is the best player at Geylang International?
I would have to say its Ridhuan Muhammad or Aliff Shafaein. I wish I had half the speed as Ridhuan.
Your football idol, growing up?
It has to be Roberto Baggio! He was unbelievable.
Who is the best player in the world?
Without a doubt, it’s Liverpool’s Luis Suarez. He is something else, he is like a kid everytime he gets the ball and his work ethic is second to none.
What are your thoughts about the season so far?
It has been disappointing to lose three games in a row, but I am confident that with a full squad we can do much better. There will be positive changes and god willing we will bring the glory days back to Geylang.
What are your hobbies outside of football?
I am a huge movie addict.
What was your favourite movie then?
Invictus starring Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon. It was a team movie and about how an entire nation rallied to bring the team to success, winning the rugby world cup.
Lastly, what do you think should be done to raise the attendances at the S.League matches?
Honestly, I feel the quality of football is not too different from the yester years but real quality stems from good infrastructure and good grounds. And all these, comes from money. It is hard for the league to grow without a proper budget. Kudos to our neighbours, for having pumped money into the sport. I bet they have logos or posters of the local teams, in and around their shopping centres. I don’t see any here. For example, I stay in Choa Chu Kang, and I see nothing about the Warriors in and around Lot One. There are no effective marketing activities going on. We have to pay top dollar for a good marketing team then maybe we can see results from there.