News Singapore Premier League • May 18, 2018
Home youngster Arshad inspired by Singapore legends
The 18-year-old has already played together with his idols at club level and aims to emulate them
Arshad Shamim has acquitted himself well for Home United FC so far.
SINGAPORE, 18 MAY 2018 – Shahril Ishak, Hariss Harun, Noh Alam Shah.
These are the names that roll off Arshad Shamim’s tongue when asked to name his local idols, having grown up watching them play for the Singapore National Team.
“I also watched them (Shahril and Hariss) lead the LionsXII to the Malaysia Super League (MSL) title in 2013,” the 18-year-old told the Great Eastern-Hyundai Singapore Premier League (SPL) website.
“They have always been a great inspiration to teenagers like me, especially in a nation that isn’t really interested in sports.
“The one thing I like about Noh Alam Shah is that he does not have any fear for his opponents. He goes into each game thinking he will get a goal and win the match for his team.”
The Home United midfielder also recalls watching Shahril and Hariss play during his first visit to the Old National Stadium in July 2009, when the Lions took on Liverpool FC – a moment he described as “memorable”.
This Saturday (19 May), Arshad will have the opportunity to take to the 55,000-seater National Stadium himself when his side take on Balestier Khalsa FC in the SPL.
“It’s going to be a memorable moment to step onto the pitch for the first time and play in an official match,” he said.
“I have always imagined myself playing in the National Stadium but I never thought the chance would come this quick at a very young age!”
Arshad completed the full 90 minutes on his professional league debut.
Arshad burst onto the scene earlier this season as he marked his league debut on 22 April against Geylang International FC, playing the full 90 minutes in a 4-1 victory.
“I felt a little nervous but I knew coach (Aidil Sharin) has belief in me to start the game,” he said. “I knew that if I were to put in a good performance, the chance (to play) will come more often. I had only one thought on my mind – to give my best and get a win for the team.”
Arshad knew he wanted to make it in football when he was first introduced to the sport almost a decade ago.
“At the age of seven, I started playing with my dad,” he recalled. “Then, I started playing at the void deck with the other boys in the neighbourhood. I have always wanted to play professionally, as young as possible.”
His wish came true when he made his professional bow, coming on as substitute for Home in the 2017 RHB Singapore Cup against Brunei DPMM FC in a 3-1 triumph.
“2017 was the best year of my career as I made my senior team debut against Brunei DPMM and also earned my first international call-up to the Singapore Under-20 National Team in April that year,” he said.
Arshad also knows that a professional career will not be all plain sailing, as he recalled his lows during his younger days.
“I had suffered multiple knocks and strains one after another during my Centre of Excellence (COE) days and my performance was not like how it used to – I felt like giving up,” he said.
“But one of my strengths is that I’m always mentally strong. No matter what adversity I face, I will always tell myself I can do much better sooner or later.”
Now that he is part of the Protectors’ first-team set-up, Arshad is aiming for both collective and individual glory.
“My short-term goal is to do my best and win a trophy with my club before National Service and to get more time wearing the National Team jersey,” he asserted.
Arshad was promoted to Home’s first team this year.
LEARN FROM BEST
The Home United number 20, who favours playing “anywhere in the final third” and fancies himself as an attacking-minded player, has had the rare opportunity to play with both his idols, Shahril and Hariss, in the past year.
Hariss Harun, the youngest player to ever be capped at senior level for Singapore, was on loan at Home for three months in 2017.
“Playing with Hariss last year was truly special,” Arshad said of the Lions stalwart. “Not many players get to play with their idols whom they have watched on television. It was quite a surprise for me when he joined the club on loan.
“I was able to learn many things on and off the pitch from him, which I could apply in my football career and in life too.”
And Arshad has credited former Singapore skipper Shahril, who joined Home this off-season, for mentoring him.
“He gives me advice on what to do best in the final third, (such as) to keep it simple but if I am one on one with any defender, I should take the defender on,” he explained.
“I have seen him train and play – his simplicity is what makes him such a dangerous forward.”
Arshad aims to follow in the footsteps of these two local legends in making the step up to the senior international stage.
“I have dreams of making it far in football since I was young,” he added.
With good coaching and a determination to succeed, there is no reason to doubt that Arshad could one day emulate the heights of a duo he idolised as a boy.