Standing at a towering 1.91m tall, Frederic Mendy will eclipse the average S League defender easily. Combined with his blistering pace, the French hit man is a handful for his opponents but upon sitting down for a chat with Footballopod at the Bishan Stadium yesterday, a different man emerged; a very soft hearted and humble person not forgetting his roots despite all his success at the age of 22.
Footballopod finds out more from the man who has already won the Double and Golden Boot in his S League debut season despite turning pro less than 2 years ago.
You were an integral member of the Etoile team that won the double in their debut season. Was that a surprise for you?
It was my first time in Singapore and I didn’t know what the standard was like. The first few weeks were difficult to adapt but after that we got on quite well. Winning 2 trophies wasn’t much of a surprise as we progressed as we had a good team and we trained very hard for it.
Do you think Home United can do the same this season?
It’s still too early to tell but I want to win what I can!
How did it feel scoring against Etoile in your last game?
Some people say I’m shy when playing against Etoile but they are a team with good players and it is not easy. But it felt good when I did, I’m very happy that I did!
Who is the best player in the S League?
Different players have different style, it is very hard to rate them all but players like Qiu Li, Duric, Shi Jia Yi are very good.
And the best player you’ve played against?
I would say Franklin Anzite from Etoile and Benoit Croissant of Tampines Rovers are some of the best defenders in the league.
What is it like playing in the S League? Is there any difference from playing in France?
Every team in the S League plays differently; some play a more direct style while others play a passing game. I’ve never played professionally before I came to Singapore so I can’t really tell you what it was like playing in the professional French leagues. But in France we used to train thrice a week. Now we train almost every day. I’m pretty certain I’ve improved a lot since leaving France.
Why did you join the Home United despite interest from other clubs?
Coach Lee Lim Saeng was one of the reasons I joined the club; he made me feel that Home United really wanted me. Other than that, Home United is a very good club, one of the biggest in Singapore and they certainly have a very good culture at the club!
And have you enjoyed your stay so far?
Yes! I’m delighted to be with Home United! Everything has been going on well so far for me, language may still be an issue at times after one season with a French team but football is a universal language and my English has improved!
So who are your best mates in Home United?
I can’t say! If I tell you this one, the other one will be angry and jealous! The whole team is my friend!
What is the most memorable goal you have scored so far?
It has to be the goal in the last game of the season for Etoile where we were drawn 2-2 and I scored to make it 3-2 and Etoile won the title! It was a header!
Will you see yourself playing for Singapore one day?
I don’t know, it’s too early to decide, and I will have to weigh my options! We will see when the time comes.
Mislav Karoglan, Aleksander Duric and you, who will go home with the Golden Boot?
It does not concern me with who go home with the Golden Boot. It is not my top priority even though it was me last season. My top priority is the team, I play for the team.
You are so young but you’ve already achieved so much. Do you have any advice for young footballers in Singapore who are looking to play professionally?
You have to work hard and trust your dream. If I’m not playing football, I would have been holding a regular job like your regular guy out there. Playing football is my dream job and I’ve achieved my dream.