Rusyaidi crowned 2016 TNP Dollah Kassim Award winner
Rusyaidi Salime was crowned the 2016 The New Paper Dollah Kassim Award winner on Saturday morning, during the National Football Academy graduation ceremony held in Jurongville Secondary School.
This was the second time the 18-year-old, who is a second-year diploma in computer engineering student in Singapore Polytechnic, was nominated for the award.
Rusyaidi was selected from a pool of six nominees, which also included, Irfan Najeeb, 17, Nur Adam Abdullah, 15, Danial Syafiq Mustaffa, 16, Justin Hui, 18, and Qayumm Raishyan, 16.
The National Football Academy (NFA) Under-18 right back's win came following a solid season, in which he had played for the Garena Young Lions, and ended the season with the most starts in the team.
Said Rusyaidi in an interview with The New Paper: "It was a surprising win for me, but a pleasant surprise.
"The other five nominees are very talented players and this time round everyone had an equal chance to win the award.
"I think it's really a big deal for me because I was nominated twice, so to finally win it is really a blessing.
From L-R: FAS Technical Director Michel Sablon, Guest Of Honour Mr Sarjit Singh, Ezaad Bin Abdullah (son of Dollah Kassim), Rusyaidi Salime and The New Paper Editor, Mr Dominic Nathan
"It's important to keep working hard, the moment you start doing so, many opportunities will come your way."
The Dollah Kassim Award was first started in 2010 to honour young and deserving football talents in Singapore under the age of 18, in memory of the nation's football legend, Dollah Kassim, also known as the "Gelek King".
Nominations for the award recipients are made by Football Association Singapore (FAS) NFA coaches who oversee the development and the training of young footballers here.
Nominees are picked based on their technical ability with regards to the game, as well as their character, which were two notable attributes of the late Dollah Kassim.
The winner gets to keep the Dollah Kassim Award trophy for a year and earns himself an overseas training opportunity with a prestigious football club.
Previous years' winners include Ammirul Emmran Mazlan (2010), Adam Swandi (2011), R Aaravin (2012), Hazim Faiz (2013), Muhelmy Suhaimi (2014) and last year, Joshua Pereira.