Singapore Football

'He could be ace of an S.League club'

They are pleased to see Sahil Suhaimi's establishing himself as Singapore's next top goalscorer.

But veteran strikers Indra Sahdan and Noh Alam Shah believe the youngster would improve even more if he were playing alongside seasoned players in a club side, instead of his current side, Courts Young Lions - a developmental Under-23 team.

Sahil, 21, is the hottest local striker in the Great Eastern-Yeo's S.League this season with five goals in seven games.

Indra, is the first local-born player to reach 200 S.League goals and was Singapore's top goal-getter for a decade, scoring against the likes of Japan, Uruguay and Manchester United.

Now 35, he said: "I feel that Sahil's development could stall because he is just playing with players from his age-group.

"In comparison, when I was 20, I was playing first-team football for Geylang alongside Brian Bothwell.

"A year later, at his age, I was playing in the Home United first team with Egmar Goncalves and Peres de Oliveira.

"I learnt a lot from quality players like them, and so would Sahil if he plays alongside better players.

"Because he's so good he might feel sometimes like he's the best (player in the Young Lions team) and that's no good for a young player.

"If he were at Tampines, for example, with Aleks (Aleksandar Duric, the S.League's all-time highest scorer) and Alam Shah, I think he'll still be scoring goals and also get a lot more experience. So I feel he's losing out at the moment."

It is a sentiment shared by Alam Shah (above). The 33-year-old, whose 17 AFF Suzuki Cup goals make him the tournament's all-time top scorer, said: "He's good enough to play and score regularly at any S.League club.

"He's different from other (local) strikers. He can score, hold the ball up well, and can do a lot of things other strikers can't, like creating goals for himself.

"It's difficult for him to gain experience when he's playing with people his age, especially when he is the better than everyone else.

"But in a way, maybe it's good for him to be in the Young Lions for now, because you need to crawl first, then walk, then run. (But) I still feel he would progress quicker at a club."