TNP Dollah Kassim Award nominee Arsyad shines with sportsmanship
JVSS left winger also displays discipline, dedication
This year, Arsyad Basiron led Jurongville Secondary School (JVSS) to the National B Division Boys League 1 football title, scoring 15 goals.
The left winger was also the joint-top scorer in the Football Association of Singapore's Centre of Excellence Under-15 league, plundering 13 goals in only five games.
Arsyad, who was called up to the national U-15 side in January, has since represented Singapore in various tournaments, including the AFF U-15 Championship and the AFC U-16 Championship qualifiers, where he scored a hat-trick for Singapore in a 10-1 win over Guam.
As impressive as his scoring exploits were, those feats weren't the only reasons the 15-year-old earned a nomination for The New Paper Dollah Kassim Award.
Just as crucial were his sportsmanship, discipline and dedication.
JVSS coach Azman Mohd recounted a moment in the second half of the B Div final against St Patrick's School (SPS) when Arsyad's sense of fair play came to the fore.
"During the final, we were leading 2-1 when one of the SPS players went down either due to an injury or cramps," Azman, 47, told The New Paper.
"Arsyad had the ball in a promising attacking area and, with his dribbling ability, he could possibly have tried to put the game out of their reach.
"But he opted to stop play by kicking the ball out. It was typical of him to have done that. It shows his character."
"That incident reflects well on him and the school. We're proud to see such a good quality in a young boy," added Shahul Hameed, the football teacher-in-charge at JVSS.
SPS equalised later to force extra-time, when Arsyad scored the winner - his second goal in the final - and was later named the Man of the Match.
When asked about his act of sportsmanship, he said: "It would have been unfair to have continued.
"It would not have been good for my school's reputation. We should play fair, win fair."
Azman also spoke highly of Arsyad's discipline and dedication to his craft.
"He is a very committed player, who is very disciplined both on and off the pitch," Azman said of Arsyad, who has school and national team training six days a week, and travels from his home in Marsiling to Jurong East for school.
"He always attends school and training punctually, follows instructions and always gives of his best. He just never gives up."
Shahul, 34, added: "Arsyad has a big role in the team. His teammates respect and look up to him not just because of how good a player he is, but also for his discipline and dedication.
"For example, he has national U-15 team training at 7pm and we have a game at 5pm. So while he can't play, he will still come down and support us.
"It also highlights his team spiritedness and the passion he has for the game."
It could have turned out very differently for the diminutive winger, who stands at 1.62m, had he not been denied the CCA of his choice at Woodgrove Primary School.
"I wanted to choose basketball as my CCA in primary school, but I was rejected because of my height. So I chose football instead," Arsyad said.
As it turns out, basketball's loss is football's gain.
"His height isn't a big disadvantage as having lower centre of gravity probably helps. He weaves in and out on the flank, as he has good balance," said Azman.
The New Paper Dollah Kassim 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 proud and glad to be nominated," Arsyad said.
"I really look up to (2011 winner and Home United midfielder) Adam Swandi. So, for the six of us nominees to have the chance to be the next Adam Swandi, we are very lucky."
Name: Arsyad Basiron
Team: Jurongville Secondary School
Position: Left winger
Date of birth: March 10, 2004
Favourite team: Chelsea
Favourite player: Hakim Ziyech