Zaihesddy Bin Zaharudin, 14
FRIEND OF ACTXA
Tampines Rovers U15 Footballer & Springfield Secondary School C Division Team Captain
Q1: When did you first start playing football? Have you always been considered one of the better players wherever you’ve played?
I think I’m considered a “late bloomer”, because I only started playing football when I was 10. It was my elder brother who brought me to the street soccer court near my block and introduced me to the sport. I’ve loved football ever since then and head to the court whenever I’m free.
I wouldn’t say that I’m the best or one of the better players, because there’s always something I can improve on. Back then, there were more talented players around my age, so I’ve always worked hard to catch up. I’m very focused when it comes to practising my dribbling, shooting, and even trying to improve my weaker left foot.
Q2: Who was your football hero while growing up? Do you wish you can follow in his footsteps one day?
The footballer who has influenced me most has to be Neymar Jr, because he has amazing footwork and skills. I used to watch videos of him back when he was still playing for Santos, and would try to copy his flicks and tricks on the football field.
Obviously, any young footballer would dream of becoming a star and playing for a top team in Europe. Having played for JSSL FC in the Youth League, I’m inspired by one of the team’s graduates, Ben Davis, who has since gone on to play for the Fulham U18 team in England. Hopefully, with enough hard work, I can also make it someday.
Q3: What is it like playing for your school team, and progressing to training with the Tampines Rovers youth setup?
Both experiences are similar in a way, since there’s a lot of training involved. What I can say is that at the more professional club setup level, the training is more rigorous and stressful on the body, but overall, I find it more effective for my development. We train from Tuesday to Thursday, as well as the weekend.
As captain of the Springfield C Division team, I take on more of a leadership role and have to step in to handle disputes between teammates. I also feel the pressure to behave in a way that others can look up to, since the captain should be someone who displays maturity and responsibility.
Q4: If you somehow couldn’t ever play football again, what would you do?
I cannot imagine not being able to play football, but if I ever don’t make it at the professional level, I intend to pursue a career in architecture. Some people may be surprised that even though I seem like the sporty type, I actually appreciate the way buildings are constructed and developed, so you can say that I have an artistic side too. Besides, I think architecture pays well, haha.
Q5: Do you have a dream destination that you’ve always wanted to travel to?
I’ve never travelled beyond Asia before, so if I could go anywhere in the world, I would want to visit Paris. What would make it even better is a trip to the Parc des Princes to see PSG and Neymar Jr live in person, and then getting an autographed ball from him!