TNP Dollah Kassim Award winner Nur Adam's bent on shining at Genk
TNP Dollah Kassim Award winner embarks on training stint with top Belgian club, thanks to Singapore Pools
Six months after winning The New Paper's Dollah Kassim Award, Nur Adam Abdullah will step foot into the prestigious academy of top Belgian side KRC Genk for a one-week training stint, courtesy of Singapore Pools.
The club have moulded some of the world's most prominent footballers, such as Manchester City's midfield maestro Kevin de Bruyne, Liverpool striker Divock Origi and Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.
There will be no rest for Adam, who will head straight for training once he touches down today, but that is barely a concern for the 18-year-old.
Instead, the Young Lions defender has his mind set on impressing the coaches there and possibly opening the door to future attachments for his junior teammates.
Adam said before his flight yesterday: "What I'm hoping to achieve is to create a good impression of Singapore and let the coach see that there are other good players in Asia.
"I hope that I can show the coach that it's not a waste of time to bring players from a small country like Singapore."
While this is his first training stint in Europe, he has had some experience playing against European footballers when he was invited to feature for Japanese side Omiya Ardija in the Delta Cup, an international tournament in Holland last year.
This Belgian trip came about through Football Association of Singapore's former technical director Michel Sablon and general manager of youth development S. Varatha Rajan.
Adam anticipates a stint that is full of lessons that he hopes to bring back to help in his development as a player and share with his teammates.
He said: "I'll try to learn as much as I can and bring that back to Singapore and try to share that with my team members, so that we can improve and prepare for upcoming competitions."
Shouldering the task of giving himself and the country a good reputation comes with pressure, but pressure is something that has been present through his fledgling career.
Despite this, the driven defender has impressed, earning him the chance to be promoted from the national under-18 team to Singapore Premier League (SPL) club Young Lions this season.
But he admitted that his debut SPL campaign has not been without its setbacks, as poor performances at the start of the season took a toll on his confidence.
Adam said: "You're facing opponents who are older, more experienced than you are. The first few months have been pretty tough for me as I haven't had much playing time and I've made a lot of mistakes."
Since then, things have looked up for Adam, who has worked on improving himself over the last few months with the help of his coaches and hopes to get more opportunities to play.
He knows that the path to success is not straightforward, but is inspired by Genk's youth product, de Bruyne's own journey to the top.
"Every pro from the EPL always has a hard background, they sacrifice a lot. De Bruyne had a hard time at Chelsea, had to go to Germany and now he's one of Man City's key players," said Adam, referring to the Belgian star's earlier stints with Werder Bremen and Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga.