Ronaldo’s ex-Sporting Lisbon teammate Paulo Sergio sets sights on S.League title

Ronaldo's former Sporting Lisbon teammate Paulo Sergio eyeing title with DPMM

Paulo Sergio


Tonight, 7.30pm, Jalan Besar Stadium)

For three years, Paulo Sergio partnered Cristiano Ronaldo.

Ok, so they were both teenagers at Portuguese club Sporting Lisbon.

But, according to Sergio, who now plays for Brunei DPMM in the Great Eastern-Yeo's S.League, even then, Ronaldo was already driven to become one of the game's best.

"Yes, I played with Cristiano in the club's academy, the (reserve) Sporting B team, as well as the first team," said Sergio who, at 31, is a year older than his former teammate.

"He is a great guy.

"Even when we were at that age, he was already very hard working.

"He told me that he would one day be the best player in the world."

While they were mates as teenagers, Sergio and Ronaldo's careers would take dramatically different paths.

Ronaldo signed for Manchester United in 2003 and then moved on to Real Madrid for a then-record £80 million ($174 million) fee six years later, winning three Ballons D'Or (in 2008, 2013 and 2014).

Sergio, meanwhile, was farmed out on loan by Sporting to several top division Portuguese teams, before being released in 2008.

He then played in neighbouring Spain for a season before returning to Portugal, scoring 11 goals in 150 appearances in Portugal's top division in total.

Make no mistake about it, though, Sergio showed great promise as a teenager.

He emerged as top scorer at the 2003 Uefa Under-19 championship with five goals, in a tournament that featured the likes of England's Stewart Downing and Italian trio Giorgio Chiellini, Alberto Aquilani and Giampaolo Pazzini.

He also scored four goals for Portugal as they qualified for the 2006 Uefa Under-21 championship, but ultimately failed to make the cut for the squad.

Earlier this year, he made the bold decision to leave Europe to sign for DPMM, coached by former Blackburn Rovers manager Steve Kean.


"I wanted to try another experience, and play football outside Europe," explained Sergio.

"DPMM showed interest, so here I am."

He packed his bags and moved his family - wife and two daughters - to South-east Asia, and says they enjoy the change.

It hasn't been an easy season for Sergio on the pitch, however, with a hamstring injury limiting him to just 13 S.League appearances, although it is testament to his quality that he has managed to score eight goals.

The perfect end to his debut season would be to help DPMM to their first S.League title.

With eight games to go, the Wasps are in the driver's seat for the championship, three points ahead of closest rivals Albirex Niigata, and with a game in hand.

"I'm satisfied with my performances, but I think that I could help the team even better had it not been for my injuries," said Sergio.

"But my teammates did really well without me.

"I still think it is still a bit early to talk about the title.

"We have eight cup finals to play.

"But we are on the right path, and we want to keep going all the way to the title."

I’m satisfied with my performances, but I think that I could help the team even better had it not been for my injuries.

— Paulo Sergio

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Volunteer group to install special doorbells for hard-of-hearing

Volunteers give special doorbells to hearing-impaired residents who often miss out on food deliveries

SPECIAL DELIVERY:Madam Wong was one of the residents at Chin Swee Road who got a new doorbell.
SPECIAL DELIVERY: Madam Wong was one of the residents at Chin Swee Road who got a new doorbell (above).

For over 20 years, Madam Fion Phua has been visiting one-room flats around Singapore to distribute food items and do house clean-ups.

But sometimes, when she and her volunteers knock on doors, no one answers.

They later find out that it's not because no one's home.

It's simply that the occupants have hearing difficulties, which means they miss out on these essential supplies.

To solve the problem, Madam Phua, 45, the founder of private volunteer group Keeping Hope Alive (KHA), has started a project to provide these residents with special doorbells that light up when someone presses the button.

She told The New Paper: "Sometimes when I knock on the doors, the residents don't reply and I realised only later that they had hearing difficulties."

Since the project started a few weeks ago, 40 units in estates on North Bridge Road and Chai Chee Road have been selected to get these new doorbells for free.

Each doorbell costs about $25, including batteries and wall hooks for the installation.

Helping the less fortunate is not new to Madam Phua.

Last year, she exchanged 50 of her designer bags worth $70,000 for 6,500 rice sacks and distributed them to the needy.

She and several other volunteers also undertook a project in 2010 to distribute old beds and mattresses to the needy.

In March, she was named this year's winner of the MediaCorp Singapore Woman Award for her charity work.


Last Sunday morning, volunteers from KHA went to Blocks 51 and 52 at Chin Swee Road for their regular visits.

At the same time, they identified eight flats which need these new doorbells.

One of the units was the home of Madam Wong, 99, who has hearing difficulties because of her age.

Madam Wong, who does not use a hearing aid, would sometimes leave her door partially open so visitors would know she is in when her daughter leaves for work.

Despite this, she has missed out on the food distributions.

When the volunteers explained that they wanted to install the special doorbell, she was very happy as she did not know such a device existed.

She said in Cantonese: "It is very kind of you to help voluntarily, bless you all."

Madam Phua added: "The doorbells will hopefully result in those residents missing out less on food distributions.

"Not only that, the doorbells can also work as a safety device in which the hearing-impaired can be told to evacuate if there's a fire."

Sometimes when I knock on the doors, the residents don't reply and I realised only later that they had hearing difficulties.

- Madam Fion Phua (above), founder of private volunteer group Keeping Hope Alive

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ACS(I) all-rounder Kevin bounces back from disappointment

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He is the level captain of the Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) swim team, the student council president, and won four golds at this year's National Schools Swimming Championships.

Kevin Ong, 17, also received this year's Lee Kuan Yew Award for All-Round Excellence.

Despite his achievements, the teenager says he could not have done it alone.

"There are so many people behind all this - my coaches, my parents especially, and my friends," said Kevin, who started swimming at age four.

These support systems, along with his school, are crucial in making him the athlete and person that he is, he said.

Kevin has done well after bouncing back from missing out on the 2013 Asian Youth Games in Nanjing, China. He won a bronze in the 4x50m mixed medley relay at the Fina World Cup here last year, and claimed the men's 50m backstroke title at the Neo Garden Singapore National Swimming Championships in June.

"I knew I was capable of doing well, but the only things that prevented me from getting there were inconsistent training and a lack of focus. I really learned from that," he said.

"I also learned to take ownership of my own training - back then I thought that just showing up at the pool would be enough, but I realised there was so much more to it.

"If I put my heart and soul into every training, then it makes a huge difference as it's the little things that add up."

ACS(I)'s teacher-in-charge of swimming, Goh Hwee Hwee, said Kevin's ability to "affirm members of the team" as his biggest strength.

She said: "He believes in the potential of others, and often encourages the younger swimmers to step up and take the lead.

"Once, we walked past a group of junior prefects, and Kevin pointed one of them out to me and said: 'This guy is very good in his work.'

"The junior prefects feel very encouraged when I tell them this, and this is how Kevin often affirms his teammates."

Kevin sees his actions simply as a chance for him to give back.

The Year 5 student is already looking forward to next year's inter-school swimming championships.

"It's going to be my sixth and final year representing my school," said Kevin, who clocked a new personal best of 26.85 seconds at last month's Fina World Junior Swimming Championships here.

"I hope to be able to lead the school to a third consecutive grand slam (of A, B and C division titles), and keep the AC tradition of swimming burning."

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