Haifi revels in captain's role for Siglap Sec
Haifi strikes twice to set up tasty clash with Victoria School
He was handed the armband after the team's regular skipper was sent off in a match last year and Mohd Haifi Mohd Azlan has revelled in his role as leader.
The captain displayed a maturity beyond his years to fire home a brace for Siglap Secondary School to post a 2-1 win over St Patrick's School in an East Zone C Division football match yesterday.
The 13-year-old centre back scored a free-kick five minutes into the second half before confidently burying a penalty three minutes later in their opening Group Y quarter-final match-up.
Siglap were made to work hard after they were reduced to 10 men, when Ezrafil Iman was shown a straight red for a wild challenge moments after they went two up.
With their numerical advantage, St Patrick's piled on the pressure by deploying three forwards and Marc Alessandro Govinden pulled one back three minutes from time.
But it was a case of too little too late for the hosts as Siglap hung on for the victory.
Speaking to The New Paper after the match, Haifi said: "It was a good game; our opponents were quite good but, thank God, we won. We worked hard and communicated with one another well."
The dead-ball specialist admitted it was all hands on deck for the team as they fought to hold on to the lead late in the game.
"It was very difficult; with the extra man, they had a bit of an advantage," he added.
"We need to keep training and keep fit."
The Secondary 2 student, who also plays for the Milan Soccer School academy here, talked up his side's chances of winning the zonal title, and pushing on to the Nationals.
"If we continue to play like this, we can," he said. "I really want to win it."
Siglap coach Fabio Da Silva, once a star in the S.League, praised the performance of his captain.
"Our instructions were to hold their team in the first half. In the second half, we had the opportunity on the set-piece, because we have Haifi who is a goalscorer (from set-pieces)," the Brazilian told TNP, after the match.
"Last year and this year, he scored a lot of goals from free-kicks as he has very good technique."
Siglap next face East Zone reigning champions Victoria School on Tuesday, with the top two from the four-team group progressing to the semi-finals. Victoria drew 1-1 with Pasir Ris Secondary School yesterday.