TNP Dollah Kassim Award nominee Amir Syafiz has the winning mentality
National U-15 captain doesn't like losing and urges teammates to do better, says SSP coach Isa Halim
Amir Syafiz Rashid's insatiable need to win not only pushes him to do his utmost for his team, but also drives his peers to give their all.
This winning mentality is the reason the Singapore Sports School (SSP) student-athlete is now one of the captains of the Singapore Under-15 side.
"Amir's winning mentality is one of his strong suits. He doesn't like to lose in anything he does, even when it comes to fitness levels or playing small-sided games," SSP coach Isa Halim told The New Paper.
"As football is a team sport, he knows his teammates have to also think like he does. So, he is always pushing his teammates to give of their best in training and matches. And Amir is also a very good motivator as he is able to inspire them to do better."
National U-15 coach Philippe Aw also heaps praise on the central midfielder, saying he "shows good discipline and commitment to the national cause and that Amir gives his 100 per cent every single time".
Amir's dedication to winning is so strong that he puts the team's needs ahead of his.
The 15-year-old covets the central midfield role as he wants to be able to dominate the middle of the park the way his favourite player Paul Pogba of Manchester United does.
However, Isa often plays Amir as a striker because of his "explosiveness and his physical strength".
"Amir has pure, raw talent and is a versatile player who puts the team before himself," said the former Singapore international.
"He plays wherever he is asked to. Sometimes, we have players who want to play only in their favourite position, but Amir not only plays where he is asked to, but he also always gives of his best.
"Besides highlighting his versatility, it also shows that he is a team player. It is one of the reasons he is named as captain for the national U-15 side."
Amir has represented Singapore in various tournaments, including the AFF U-15 Championship and the AFC U-16 Championship qualifiers this year, but it is not enough for him.
The ambitious teenager wants to keep honing his craft and play in the Singapore Premier League soon, so that he can achieve his dream of playing in Europe.
And Amir is on the right track to achieving his long-term goal, having been nominated for The New Paper Dollah Kassim Award.
The award, in its 10th year, recognises the best local players aged 18 and below who have excelled on the pitch and show exemplary values off it.
The winner will get an overseas training stint with a reputable academy, courtesy of Singapore Pools.
"I'm thankful for the nomination," Amir said.
"It doesn't matter what the outcome is, being nominated is good enough. I'm proud of myself but, more importantly, I'm thankful for the chance to make my mother proud."
He admits that, while he finds balancing studies and football tough, his nomination has inspired him to up his game both on and off the pitch.
"I was initially not allowed to join up with the U-15 side for both the AFF and AFC competitions, because I set high academic targets, which I just failed to meet," said Amir, who trains six days a week.
"Thankfully, my case was reviewed and I was allowed to go. Since then, I've been working even harder to try to achieve my targets, so that I have plenty more opportunities that would help me develop as a player.
"Now, with this nomination, I know I'm on the right track and am inspired to keep going for my goals."
Name: Amir Syafiz Rashid
Team: Singapore Sports School
Position: Striker and central midfielder
Date of birth: June 21, 2004
Favourite team: Manchester United
Favourite player: Paul Pogba