TNP Dollah Kassim Award enters eighth year
TNP Dollah Kassim Award returns for an eighth year
The New Paper Dollah Kassim Award is back for an eighth year.
Fittingly, eight promising youngsters from the Football Association of Singapore's (FAS) National Football Academy (NFA) will vie for the prestigious gong.
The award - which is handed to the most worthy NFA 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. Shortly after his passing, TNP initiated the award in partnership with FAS, in his memory.
This year's nominees are an eclectic bunch.
From the NFA Under-15 team is Marc Ryan Tan, the son of former national striker Steven Tan, and half-Greek striker Zikos Vasileios Chua, while midfielders Khairul Ikhwan Karim and Aizal Murhamdani Ahmad hail from the U-16 team.
From the U-17 team that have impressed in the U-21 Prime League this season, the central midfield pairing of Joel Chew and half-Indonesian Rezza Rezky Ramadhani make the cut.
And from the U-18 team, no-nonsense defender Nazhiim Harman and goal machine Danial Syafiq Mustaffa - who was also nominated last year - were selected by coach Christophe Chantreuil.
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 a stint at a European club.
Previous award winners had stints with Newcastle United in England, and French sides FC Metz and St Etienne.
FAS technical director Michel Sablon said: "For the young players nominated for this prestigious award, it is a sign they are learning faster and better, so they should use this opportunity to work even harder to reach their goals.
"They have the responsibility to improve themselves, and must realise there is still a long way to go before they reach international standard.
"As the saying goes: Hard work beats talent."
Said TNP editor Eugene Wee: "We are looking not just for the best footballer among these eight boys, but also one who embodies what made the late Dollah such a well-loved figure.
"It's great to see the spread of young talent coming through the ranks of Singapore football, and I hope our readers will enjoy reading about them over the next two weeks.
"This year's nominees have impressed their respective coaches with their talent and attitude, and I am sure all would make worthy winners."
Read about the eight nominees in The New Paper from tomorrow.