Once a Viper, now a Knight

I am pleased to announce that I have reached an agreement with FAS National Football League (NFL) Division 2 side Warwick Knights Football Club, and will join the Knights for the remainder of the 2018 NFL season.

This will come into effect when the mid-season transfer window re-opens in mid-July, prior to which I am still ineligible to play in any official competition matches.

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Signing with Warwick Knights FC, with club chairman Andrew as witness.

Having given the club’s proposal due deliberation and discernment over the past few months, I am happy to reach a decision which I believe is not inconsistent with my current stage in life.

Taking into consideration my current full time job with Sport Singapore, I will commit myself where reasonably possible to the club’s trainings and matches till the end of the season. I will revisit this decision again at the end of the season, to decide if I should continue for 2019.

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With Club Chairman Andrew (left) and Team Manager Nas Nastain (right most).

Appreciation

I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to Knights Team Manager Nas and Club Chairman Andrew, for placing such faith in me, and believing in my ability to still be able to contribute at this level.

I am however, under no illusions as to the task at hand, in first getting myself back into the right physical condition, and the right mentality to start playing competitively again, having stopped for four and a half years, and playing very little football during that time.

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At Warwick Knights FC’s club headquarters.

Lucky and unlucky

I count myself as both lucky and unlucky in Football. Unlucky that my parents blocked my dreams of pursuing professional football in my youth when the opportunity came; but lucky that I still have great parents who have given me their everything in raising me, and whom I love deeply and thank God for.

I am also incredibly blessed to still be able to play Football after a life threatening incident in 2011. I am also thankful to have had the opportunity to play with and against, and be coached by Singapore football’s finest, and to learn from each and every one of them, some of whom have become personal friends today.

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I will don the number 17, same number that I last wore with my previous NFL club Vipers in 2014.

Giving back

A big part my decision to get involved again, albeit for the short term, is not simply a football decision, but one of giving back.

The club has come under fire in the past and has its haters, but I hope my presence can help to lift spirits, and I hope to be of the same good influence to the youth at the club to become the best versions of themselves that they can be.

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Scoring a goal against Nanyang CSC for Vipers during the 2013 National Football League season. Watched by teammate and strike partner Faizwan Roslan.   Photo: Chris Harvey

My Personal Inspirations

I have to especially thank two men who were major influences in my youth while playing football overseas: Mr Sam Zentonio, Club President; and Mr Nihar, U21 Head coach, both of Windsor Wheels SC (part of the old Canadian National Soccer league before the revamp), for setting me on the right path: protecting me but disciplining me when they had to.

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Celebrating scoring a goal in my last full season in NFL after great team effort, with team mates Anders Aplin and Sharil Rahman.      Photo: Farhana Jaaf

And above all never failing to offer affirmation and encouragement to a lonely teenager who was staying halfway around the world from his family in Singapore.

If you guys ever read this post, I will never forget the advices you have given me. Thank you, and may God bless you and your families.

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