News Singapore Premier League • April 27, 2018
Daniel Shafiq: From Prime League to SPL in a year with Warriors
The left-back joined the club only last year and has impressed enough to be given his professional debut this season
Daniel Shafiq made his professional debut in Warriors FC’s league clash against Hougang United FC this season (Photo courtesy of Warriors FC).
SINGAPORE, 27 APRIL 2018 – When Daniel Shafiq received a phone call asking him to re-join Warriors FC after he finished his National Service (NS) last year, the decision was not a difficult one to make.
He had joined the Under-16 side of then-Singapore Armed Forces FC (SAFFC) at 15 and was voted the Best Player in the 2012 season of the Centre of Excellence League, before returning to the National Football Academy (NFA, now FAS Football Academy or FFA) at 17.
“I chose Warriors (despite having other offers) because I played for them before,” the 21-year-old said of the call from his former coach Fendi Rahmat.
“Football is my passion – I just have to work hard in order to make a success out of it.”
Daniel stuck to his guns and has reaped the rewards of his efforts this season.
The number 16 was handed his professional debut in the Warriors’ third match of the Great Eastern-Hyundai Singapore Premier League (SPL) season, starting and completing the full game at left-back in a 1-1 draw away to Hougang United FC.
Daniel Shafiq turning out for Warriors FC’s Prime League side last year (Photo courtesy of Daniel).
“I was happy, nervous and scared at the same time,” he recalled. “My teammates helped me to build up my confidence with their words of encouragement and motivation (before and during the game and) I am grateful to have then, as they have been constantly motivating me ever since pre-season.”
He started a second successive time against Tampines Rovers FC in a 0-0 draw and impressed again with his tenacity and overlapping runs from the back, though it is a new position for him.
“I started playing as striker when I was in the NFA U-14s,” he recalled. “During my two years in SAFFC, I played right- back the first year and central midfielder the following year.
“After getting back to the NFA, I started playing defensive roles. Centre-back has been my favourite position… (but) for now, I prefer playing left-back.”
Daniel is aware that there is still plenty for him to learn as he settles into top-flight football and attempts to establish himself in the first-team. He could make it three starts in a row if picked for this Sunday’s clash with Balestier Khalsa FC at Toa Payoh Stadium.
Daniel Shafiq has played against Hougang United FC and Tampines Rovers FC so far (Photos courtesy of Warriors FC)
“As compared to the Prime League, the play in the SPL is faster and more aggressive,” he said. “I also have to fight for my place at left-back, where there are many potential options for the Coach. I have to train harder, focus and overcome fear. We all have to work as a team.”
Football is a full-time pursuit now for Daniel, who has the backing of his family and cites them as his “everything”, with his father being his idol. During his free time, he chooses to spend it with family and friends, while he is also partial to playing a spot of sepak takraw.
It may be Daniel’s first professional season, but the defender has lofty ambitions, having gotten a taste of glory last year in the Singapore Pools FA Cup.
“The best moment I’ve ever had (to date) was lifting that trophy after scoring the winning goal,” he said of their 2-1 victory against Yishun Sentek Mariners FC last October at Jalan Besar Stadium.
“This season, I hope to be champions for the SPL with my club and also to get a chance to play for my country (in future).”
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