TNP Dollah Kassim Award winner Adam plans extra training for next year
TNP Dollah Kassim Award recipient Nur Adam planning extra training to prepare for new season with Young Lions
The hard work just does not stop for young footballer Nur Adam Abdullah.
Shortly after being named this year's The New Paper Dollah Kassim Award winner at the Football Association of Singapore's (FAS) Jalan Besar headquarters last Friday, the 17-year-old was already steeling himself for the season ahead.
Resting is not an option this holiday for the recent FAS Football Academy (FFA) Under-18 graduate, who has signed for Singapore Premier League (SPL) club Young Lions.
He will be pumping in extra hours of training in preparation for a higher level of football in the professional league, saying: "The SPL is a very different level from the Centre of Excellence league - my opponents are bigger, stronger and faster.
"It will take time for me to adapt to the playing style, but what I can do is to ready myself for the season by working hard on my fitness and build."
The desire to continually strive for excellence is characteristic of the teenager.
Those who have seen him progress through the ranks describe him as a talented, passionate footballer with a never-say-die spirit.
FAS technical director Michel Sablon praised the youngster's well-roundedness, saying: "For the nominees of this award, we look not only at their football talent, but also things like attitude and ambition.
"In the final evaluation, he showed that he deserved it the most. It will be one of the milestones in his career. Now, the challenge is for him to develop himself.
"There's a future for him - he has the conviction to be a good player and that's important."
Adam pipped seven others - teammate Rezza Rezky Ramadhani, FFA U-17 duo Harhys Rizal Gareth Stewart and Abdul Rasaq Ishiekwene Akeem, FFA U-16's Ryaan Sanizal and Iman Hakim Ibrahim and FFA U-15's Andrew Aw Yong Rei and Ong Yu En - to the prestigious accolade.
It was a sweet victory for the left-back who was also nominated for the award two years ago but did not win.
He was fast-tracked to the FFA U-18 team the following year, but took time to settle in due to an injury.
His teammates, who were also present for the FFA U-18 graduation ceremony last Friday, broke into cheers when he was announced as this year's TNP Dollah Kassim winner.
The slightly bewildered Adam, who could not stop smiling, said: "I was surprised and I'm still shaking, but I'm very happy to have won the award.
"I want to thank my parents, coaches and teammates for supporting and motivating me to work harder each day."
The award was initiated in 2010 by The New Paper, in collaboration with FAS, to commemorate the late Singapore international, Dollah Kassim, who was nicknamed the "Gelek King" for his mesmerising skills that thrilled crowds.
OVERSEAS TRAINING STINT
Adam, who is the ninth recipient of the award, also earned himself an overseas training stint with a reputable club, courtesy of Singapore Pools.
FAS general secretary Yazeen Buhari believes that the stint will be invaluable to Adam's growth as a player.
He said: "He's at a very critical stage and he's moving on to play among the big boys. It was very clear that Adam exhibited what it takes to get to where he wants to be and has shown that he can develop further.
"The stint he will get next year is going to help him a lot, not just technically but also from a mental standpoint."
TNP editor Eugene Wee hopes the stint will help Adam in his fledgling career.
He said: "Adam is a deserving winner, having impressed the panel with his football abilities, strong mentality and down-to-earth character.
"I hope Adam will take this award, as well as the overseas training stint that comes with it, as added motivation for him to improve and play at a higher level."
Adam also sees this as an opportunity to step up and, hopefully, one that takes him a step closer to his goal of playing overseas. But for now, he has set his sights on donning Singapore colours at next year's South-east Asian Games in the Philippines.
The new year will usher in perhaps the most gruelling season of his fledgling career, but Adam is not afraid of the challenges.
He said: "I have worked hard from the beginning and I don't want to waste it just like that because football is something that I'm very passionate about and I really want to go far."