Interview with Siddiq Durimi
By Deepanraj Ganesan on 18 June 2014
The Eagles head into the match against Harimau Muda looking to register a fourth consecutive clean sheet. With the back four looking sharp and confident, the turn of form for the defence has been credited mostly to custodian Siddiq Durimi. Having been handed a start for the cup tie against Woodlands Wellington, the goalkeeper has since shone and secured a first team place. The goalkeeper who was part of Singapore’s Asian Games squad in 2010 has produced numerous outstanding saves in the four matches he has starred in and is motivated to keep his run going. Able to play in outfield just as convincingly, Siddiq Durimi is a rare breed of goalkeepers who are technically apt with their feet as their hands. EAGLES TV caught up with the man of the moment to get to know which position he prefers, his national team hopes and about his thoughts on foreign goalkeepers in the league.
How did you start playing football?
I grew up playing a lot of sports. Basketball, soccer and badminton. I got called up for the badminton and soccer national u12 team. It was then that my mum told me to choose football because according to her if I play badminton there’s no crowd, basketball was dominated by the Chinese and in football there’s crowd as well as a mixture of races in the sport with Indians, Malay and Chinese.
You can play as a goalkeeper and in outfield positions. Which do you prefer?
Honestly, I don’t know. I just enjoy playing football. I don’t care if it is as a keeper or outfield player. So I don’t have any preference actually.
How did your move to Geylang International come about?
I asked Coach Kanan if I could train with the team. After a few trainings, he asked me why I didn’t want to play professionally again. I gave it a thought and then decided to give it a go and test myself in the league again.
How are you finding you return to Geylang so far?
So far so good. Everything has been going my way but I hope the team wins more games and then it’ll be perfect after that.
You faced some trouble, specifically financial problems. What did you learn out of your troubles?
I learned that we shouldn’t run away from problems. We should solve it one at a time and if you can’t handle it, don’t be afraid to ask around for opinions. More thoughts are better than thoughts from a single brain.
During your financial trouble, you actually worked as a Ship Technician. How was that like for you?
Long term wise, ship technician is a better career especially in Singapore. For me, I have to kick a ball everyday so naturally I had to return to football despite a better pay as a ship technician.
So would you say that you chose passion over money then?
Yes. That is true. The pay isn’t big but I love playing football and it’s my passion
There have been more foreigners in the league. In your opinion, is there a need for foreign goalkeepers?
No. We don’t need foreign goalkeepers. There are a lot of better local goalkeepers around. There are even better keepers who aren’t even in playing in the league and some of them should be given the chance.
Do the foreigners help the league then?
Some of them yes. But the effectiveness is only 2/10. For me, it’s a waste of money and time. You can pay youngsters and locals who can be way better.
At Geylang International, you work under Scott Starr. How has he been like?
Scott has been great. Scott has very interesting and different ways to train a goalkeeper. He highlights the weaknesses in me and helps me to work on it. He is very different from other keeper trainers I’ve trained under so training has been good.
There have been increasing calls for you to be called up to the national team. Is a call up on your mind?
Definitely. I am aiming for that. Every footballer dreams of playing for his nation. For me, I just came back to professional football this year, so I want to keep my performances going for now then take each game as it comes.
The current goalkeepers in the National team are Izwan Mahbud and Hassan Sunny. What is your take on them as goalkeepers?
Izwan and Hassan are top goalkeepers. I have worked with both of them before and it’s hard for me think about getting into the national team because they both are way ahead of me in terms of standard. But with that said, I won’t give up and I’ll keep improving.
What is the most important trait a goalkeeper should have?
To have the confidence plus size and physique is important.
Who are your idols in football? People you look up to both in local and international football.
Hassan Sunny and Yazid Yazin. Yazid is so experienced that he makes it look so easy when he makes saves. Hassan’s size and technique is superb and want to work towards his standard. In international football, it has to be Spain’s Iker Casillas. He’s so brave and a good keeper needs to be brave.
What is your advice to aspiring footballers out there?
Just keep on working had. Best is to train hard when you are young. When you are older, it’s hard to train on the techniques. So work hard now and the future is yours.