Adam Swandi's double injury adds to Home United's woes
Protectors' new coach Avramovic to look into rising number of casualties
Just a week ago, Home United midfielder Adam Swandi had a lot to look forward to for the rest of the year.
Former Lions coach Raddy Avramovic, known for developing young local footballers, had taken charge of Home and Adam, 23, told The New Paper that he was looking forward to improving under the Serb.
Even sweeter was Adam's engagement with his girlfriend, 23-year-old Nurul Izzati, in the same week.
But just days later, his season came to an abrupt end.
In last Wednesday's 1-0 win over the Young Lions at the Jalan Besar Stadium, Adam tore the anterior cruciate ligament and medial collateral ligament in his right knee, ruling him out of action for at least 10 months.
Adam, who was involved in the winning goal, suffered the double injury after Young Lions defender Irfan Najeeb collided into him while attempting to clear the ball.
Adam's right knee bore the brunt of the impact, prompting players from both sides to call for medical attention immediately.
A despondent-sounding Adam told TNP over a phone call: "As a footballer in Singapore, the immediate thought after the injury goes to your rice bowl and whether this changes everything in terms of my career. Especially when most of us are on one- or two-year contracts, you start to feel hesitant.
"Then the thoughts after that are about whether you can get back to your best and play the way you used to do."
Avramovic urged Adam not to give up, saying: "This year and next year would have been crucial for Adam because I believe he is one of those that can become one of the top players in this country.
"It is a really unlucky injury and the boy needs to work hard and he must have the willpower to come back stronger. He must not give up."
Adam enjoyed a stellar 2018 when he became the first Singaporean to win the Singapore Premier League (SPL) since 2015, as Albirex Niigata made a clean sweep of domestic silverware. He was also named the 2018 SPL Young Player of the Year.
This year, he has been one of Home's better players in what has been a disappointing campaign. He also started in Lions coach Tatsuma Yoshida's first match - a 4-3 win over Solomon Islands last month.
Adam's injury means that Home now have seven players on the sidelines, including Juma'at Jantan , Hafiz Nor, Fazli Ayob, Rudy Khairullah, Izzdin Shafiq and Isaka Cernak.
Avramovic added: "We have to deal with it and others can step up. But we have to also see why these (injuries) are happening. It is something for me to look into.
"But some of the injuries have also come from bad tackles and you can't predict that. That is something for the referees to look at."