Ariffin shines with five goals at the FC Bayern Youth Cup
Singapore Selection side finish creditable fourth at FC Bayern Youth Cup world finals
He scored not once or twice, but five times on the hallowed Bayern Munich turf at the Allianz Stadium, celebrating with aplomb in front of thousands of fans.
It was a dream come true for 16-year-old Singaporean Ariffin Noor at the FC Bayern Youth Cup world finals on Sunday, when he finished as his team's top scorer.
In the process, the Singapore Selection side finished fourth out of seven teams, including champions Thailand, hosts Germany, Austria, the United States, India and China.
After scoring in group-stage wins over India, China and the US, Ariffin told The New Paper: "I'm very happy to play in a world-class stadium like Bayern's and show that Singaporean footballers do have some standard.
"Even for a youth tournament, there were almost 3,000 fans in the stands, and it was a good feeling to score and hear them cheer for us even though we are a visiting team."
Aged 14 to 16, Zamani Zamri, Khairul Karim, Bill Abuzar, Danial Azman, Diego Zico, Aizal Ahmad, Izwan Chik, Zainus Subhan and Ariffin had earned their tickets after impressing at last month's FC Bayern Youth Cup in Singapore.
The inaugural Under-16, seven-a-side competition held at the Singapore University of Technology and Design was locally organised by the F-17 Football Academy.
After losing 1-0 to the terrific Thais in their first match, the Singapore Selection settled down with a 3-1 comeback win over India, and went on to claim the scalps of China, hosts Germany and the US.
Lost to Thailand 1-0
Beat India 3-1
Beat China 1-0
Beat Germany 1-0
Lost to Austria 1-0
Beat the US 2-0
Lost to Austria 1-0
Drew 0-0 with Germany, lost 2-1 on penalties
Fifth: United States
They were unlucky in the 1-0 semi-final loss to Austria, in which Ariffin had a headed goal harshly ruled out for a foul.
In the third/fourth play-off, their rematch against Germany ended in a stalemate. The hosts then kept their nerves to win 2-1 in the penalty shoot-out, after Ariffin struck the bar.
Besides the tournament, the players had the opportunity to train under Bayern youth coaches, meet superstars Xabi Alonso and David Alaba, and watch the Bundesliga champions' coronation after Saturday's 4-1 league win over SC Freiburg.
They also squeezed in some sightseeing and learnt about the history of Marienplatz, Munich's city centre.
Sebastian Dremmler, Bayern's head coach of international programmes, praised the Singaporean team. He said: "I'm pleasantly surprised because Singapore coped well in a strong field. They were very organised and had some good individuals.
"In the end, in 10-minute matches, one mistake could cost you and you also need some luck. To reach the semi-finals is a good result, so congratulations and well done."
F-17 coach Habil Roslan, who led the Singapore Selection, added: "I couldn't have asked for more in terms of effort from the team. They beat four teams, including Germany on their home ground in the group stage and they will all bring home some fond memories.
"As a coach, I have also picked up pointers about coaching and organisation, which I will share with my F-17 colleagues.
"We are grateful to FC Bayern for this complete package, which will spur the players to work harder if they want to become professional footballers in the future.
"Look out for the next edition of the FC Bayern Youth Cup Singapore tournament that will be organised by the F-17 Football Academy next year."