Dollah Kassim Award nominee Elliot harbours EPL dream
Elliot Ng dreams of playing in the EPL one day
He is only 16, and has yet to fulfil his dream of signing a professional football contract.
But Singapore Under-16 midfielder Elliot Ng already knows what it is like to play to a packed arena, send supporters home with a smile and create a slice of football history in the process.
You see, Elliot is captain of the St Joseph's Institution B Division team that won their first football title in 30 years when they beat Queensway Secondary School 1-0 in the South Zone final in April.
The central midfielder played a crucial role in that game by freeing up teammate Nasrul Matin to cross for Jared Ng to score the winner.
"It was really something special, it felt amazing to see so many people, old boys and families, unite across all levels," said Elliot.
"It is something I want to experience over and over again, hopefully as a professional footballer."
He went on to lead his team to their first national final since 1978. But, at the last hurdle, opponents Hong Kah Secondary School proved to be of a different class, hammering his side 6-0.
For his efforts, Elliot was named SJI's Sportsman of the Year from his graduating cohort.
Winning The New Paper Dollah Kassim Award, though, would top that because "this would be my first individual award at a national level".
Interestingly, his first taste of football was as a cheerleader, when as a four-year-old, he would run onto the pitch and hug his nine-year-old brother Justin whenever the latter scored for his football academy side.
Following in his brother's footsteps, he went on to play for the JSSL Arsenal Under-5s before stepping up to the Under-8s when he was just five-and-a-half.
It wasn't easy playing against older boys who were much taller than him, and that was when he found out the value of hard work.
Whereas his brother has put aside football to study chemical engineering in Cambridge, Elliot is determined to juggle both homework and passion.
A typical day starts at 6am, with schoolwork occupying him from 7.30am to about 4pm, before reporting for training which lasts from 5.30pm to 8pm. While commuting, he would read his notes on his mobile phone.
After dinner, he usually chills out or does more homework, before heading to bed at 11pm.
Such discipline and dedication are what convinced his National Football Academy Under-16s coach Robin Chitrakar to nominate Elliot for The New Paper Dollah Kassim Award.
The 39-year-old said: "Elliot is intelligent, has good control of the ball, brings others into play, and along with another nominee Saifullah Akbar, he is the heart of the team.
"He is always ready for training and always wants to learn something. While he is a bit small in size, he is still only 16 and has the potential to grow and become a very good footballer."
Like most boys who grew up watching the English Premier League, Elliot dreams of playing there one day.
Winning the Dollah Kassim Award, which comes with an overseas training stint sponsored by Singapore Pools, would be a step in that direction.
"This would mean a lot to me," he said. "I have never trained with an overseas club and I'm very keen and curious to learn what it takes to succeed at a professional club overseas.
"My main goal is to play at the professional level, hopefully in the EPL. I know it is tough because Singapore is a small country.
"But I have a gut feeling, that with family support, a lot of hard work and a bit of luck, I can pursue a career doing something I love, which is to play football and entertain people."
NAME: Elliot Ng Shao Han
BORN: May 4, 1999
TEAM: NFA Under-16
POSITION: Central midfielder
FAVOURITE PLAYER: Mesut Oezil
FAVOURITE CLUB: Arsenal
PET PEEVE: Arrogant people
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