Under the hot sun over the weekend, twenty three boys fought for the chance to be crowned the top five in Singapore’s The Chance, a global football talent search launched by Nike.
On Saturday, the boys went through the Sparq and ETL tests in the morning, under the watchful eyes of The Chance Singapore head coach V.Sundramoorthy.
In the afternoon, they split into four teams of seven, playing seven-a-side games against each other.
The squad was initially decided to be trimmed down to sixteen, but after much discussion, the coaches decided to take eighteen boys into the final round on Sunday, where they played in a full eleven-a-side game against Home United Prime League team.
Despite a lack of familiarity with each other, the boys did well, including scoring a great team goal. Although they did lose 3-1 eventually, the performance of several boys stood out in the end.
The Final Five players were chosen at the end, after the coaches had a discussion together.
The top five are: Randy Pay, Nazirul Islam, Afiq Mat Noor, Sim Li Ming and Faris Ramli.
Randy Pay and Afiq Mat Noor, were both formerly on SAFFC Prime League Team’s books, while Sim Li Ming turned out for Hougang United’s Prime League team. Faris Ramli on the other hand, is with the Courts Young Lions and is touted as a potential Singapore star in the future.
Nazirul Islam on the other hand, plays for Keppel Monaco in the NFL Division 1.
Speaking at the end of the Country Finals, Coach Sundramoorthy said: “We had so much talent to choose from here at the Country Finals and now, we have the top five boys who we feel will be able to make an impression at the Regional Finals. These boys fit the bill in terms of what we were looking for which were, first touch, mental fortitude and skill on the ball. It was tough to choose five out of 23 but the choices made were definitely the right ones.”
Out of the five, three stood out exceptionally well for this writer. Faris Ramli dazzled with his wing play, while both 1.83m tall Pay and Sim were hardworking upfront and the back respectively. Pay always looked to get involved, holding the ball and laying it off for his teammates and even scored a goal.
Sim, on the other hand held the defence together in the first half, allowing Home United Prime League boys to only a goal.
These five boys will now go on to the regional finals due to be held in Jakarta. They will be accompanied by head coach V.Sundramoorthy, and will be fighting for the chance to be one of the selected ones to advance into the global finals in Barcelona.