Six of the best for Dollah Kassim Award 2016
The New Paper Dollah Kassim Award is back for a sixth year and six promising footballers from the Football Association of Singapore’s (FAS) National Football Academy will vie for the prestigious gong.
The award — which is handed to the most worthy player aged 18 and below — 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 and, shortly after, TNP initiated the award in partnership with FAS, in his memory.
This year’s nominees are Nur Adam Abdullah (NFA Under-15), Qayyum Raisyhan (NFA U-16), Irfan Najeeb, Danial Syafiq (both NFA U-17), Justin Hui, and Ruysaidi Salime (both NFA U-18).
A panel of judges from the FAS and TNP will assess the nominees and the winner will be announced at a ceremony next Saturday.
In addition to a trophy, the winner of the award will also secure an overseas stint at a European club.
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 winners in the next three years — R Aaravin (2012), Hazim Faiz Hassan (2013) and Muhelmy Suhaimi (2014) — polished their skills at French outfit FC Metz.
Last year’s winner, Joshua Pereira, went to another French side, St Etienne, to rub shoulders with some of France’s best young players.
FAS technical director Michel Sablon, the man famed for developing the blueprint that produced Belgium’s current “golden generation” of world-beaters, said the Dollah Kassim Award could inspire aspiring talents to the next level of their development.
“Being selected or awarded as a young talent (should be) an invitation to intensify efforts and time into their individual development,” he said.
“At the same time, it is entering into a commitment to parents, coaches, clubs and to the player himself to convert the talent into quality performances.
“With the award comes a trip overseas, and to be exposed to a football environment by visiting clubs or countries with a high level of development, can have an additional value of mental awareness of what modern football means and how young players can reach their highest level.”
“We are looking not just for the best footballer among these six boys, but also one who embodies what the late Dollah was all about,” said TNP Sports Editor Lim Han Ming.
“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.
“TNP hopes the Dollah Kassim Award will inspire the talented boys to eventually reach the highest level of football, and represent the country one day.”
The New Paper will profile the six nominees from tomorrow.