IT HAS been more than a year since Dollah Kassim died, but he is far from forgotten.
The late Gelek King's legacy as one of Singapore football's greatest will continue to be carried on by this year's Dollah Kassim Award nominees.
The award – which was initiated by The New Paper in partnership with Singapore Pools and the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) – recognises both footballing excellence and character, both of which the late Dollah had in abundance.
This year, a new sponsor has come on board in the form of Turkish Airlines.
Open to Singaporeans between 15 and 18, nominations were made by the FAS National Football Academy coaches, who pick and train the best young footballers in the country.
The five players shortlisted this year are 15-year-old Adam Swandi, Fashah Iskandar Rosedin, Illyas Lee and Dhukhilan Jeevamani, all 16, and Faris Azienuddin, 17.
Dominic Nathan, editor of The New Paper, said: "It's great to see the spread of young talent coming through the ranks of Singapore soccer.
"We have a goalkeeper, three centre backs and an attacker in the running, all of whom are worthy contenders for The New Paper Dollah Kassim Award this year. The selection panel and our readers will have a tough time picking the winner.
"It is also nice to see that another sponsor – Turkish Airlines – has joined us in recognising Singapore's talented young footballers."
At stake for the winner is the Singapore Pools Passport to Excellence, which includes an overseas training stint at a prestigious football club.
Mr Tan Soo Nan, Chief Executive Officer of Singapore Pools, said: "As a primary supporter of Singapore football, Singapore Pools is pleased to once again partner The New Paper and Football Association of Singapore on the Dollah Kassim Award for the second year running.
"It is a fitting tribute to Dollah, the Singapore football legend, who was also an invaluable Singapore Pools employee for 41 years.
"We are heartened that the Singapore Pools Passport to Excellence has allowed last year's winner, Ammirul Emmran Mazlan, an all-round exposure during his two-week training stint with Newcastle United in England," added Tan.
"I am confident this year's winner will also bring home with him the value of hard work and determination, which will serve him well in his future career, and be a positive role model in his community."
Ammirul, last year's winner, recently returned from a two-week training stint at top EPL club Newcastle United, and the 16-year-old says his experience has been an eye-opener.
"I would love to get a similar opportunity to train overseas again," the national Under-16 midfielder told TNP on his return.
"Overall, it has been a fantastic experience for me."
The youngster pipped four other young players last year because of his exemplary conduct both on and off the pitch.
This year's winner, to be announced on Dec 11, will be selected by a panel of judges from The New Paper, the FAS, Singapore Pools and Turkish Airlines.
But you, too, can have your say as readers' votes will also go towards determining which budding young talent will carry on Dollah's legacy through the award.