Six nominated for Dollah Kassim Award
Meet the nominees for this year's Dollah Kassim Award
The New Paper Dollah Kassim Award is back.
This year, six of Singapore's brightest football prospects will be vying for the prestigious individual award for promising youngsters.
In addition to a trophy, the winner will also bag the Singapore Pools Passport to Excellence, which comes with an overseas training stint.
The award - initiated by The New Paper in partnership with Singapore Pools and the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) in 2010 - recognises both footballing excellence and character, both of which the late Dollah had in abundance.
Nicknamed "The Gelek King", Dollah was well loved in the local football fraternity, and was widely regarded as one of Singapore's most skilful players.
He died at the age of 61 in 2010.
Previous winners of the award Ammirul Emmran Mazlan (2010) and Adam Swandi (2011) each spent two weeks with English Premier League side Newcastle United, while the winners in the last three years - R Aaravin (2012), Hazim Faiz Hassan (2013) and Muhelmy Suhaimi (2014) - polished their skills at French outfit FC Metz.
This year's six nominees - strikers Glenn Kweh and Benjamin Davis (both National Football Academy (NFA) Under-15), midfielder Elliot Ng and playmaker Saifullah Akbar (both NFA U-16), midfielder Justin Hui (NFA U-17) and the versatile Joshua Pereira (NFA U-18) - are all determined to follow in the footsteps of their predecessors.
A panel of judges from the FAS and TNP will assess the nominees and the winner will be announced on Nov 14.
TNP Sports Editor Lim Han Ming said: "We are looking not just for the best among these six boys, but also one who embodies what the late Dollah was all about.
"All our previous winners are not just good players but also role models for their teammates.
"This year's nominees have impressed their respective national youth team coaches with their talent and attitude, and I am sure all would make worthy winners."
Janet Seow, director of corporate services and corporate communications of Singapore Pools, said: "The late Dollah Kassim was more than a Singapore football legend; he was also a Singapore Pools staff.
"In honour of Dollah's footballing skills and the values he espoused, we are proud to be a founding partner in this award to support young football talent in reaching their potential."
"The Dollah Kassim Award is one of the key platforms through which we recognise the best youth talent who has performed well during the past year," said Benjamin Tan, deputy director of development & planning of FAS.
"We have stringent criteria aimed at identifying and shortlisting the nominees for the award.
"First, the players must be strong in both technical and tactical aspects of the game. Apart from his performance on the pitch, he must demonstrate key qualities and values, including discipline, respect and possess a strong drive to excel at all times.
"After assessing our players' performances - both on and off the pitch - during the past year, we shortlisted these six players who have been exemplary in their conduct.
"One of our key objectives in sending our players on overseas attachment/training stints is for them to compete against, and learn from, their foreign counterparts.
"We are encouraged by the positive assessments of our youth players, several of whom have caught the eye of the international teams, including European clubs.
"Going forward, we will continue to seek more resources and opportunities, enabling us to send more players and teams on regular overseas attachment/training stints, which would give them the international exposure required."
TNP readers will have a say as their votes will also go towards determining which budding young talent will carry on Dollah's legacy through the award.
If your pick goes on to win the award, you could win attractive prizes, sponsored by Singapore Pools.
The profiles of the six candidates will appear in TNP starting from tomorrow's paper.
Voting begins next week.