News • January 11, 2016

Jamil Ready To Thrive In New Environment


Written By: Kenneth Ho

Jamil Ali admitted he was initially apprehensive about finding a new club after he was released by Tampines Rovers.

After six long seasons with the Stags, the winger had grown comfortable and the thought of playing in a new environment seemed a frightening prospect to him.

He was not helped by a lack of confidence, as he saw little playing time during the 2015 season and could not showcase his abilities.

The thoughts of retiring crossed Jamil’s mind, and he mulled over that decision as he saw the likes of Shahril Jantan, Syed Thaha and many others hanging up their boots.

But Balestier Khalsa’s coach Marko Kraljevic was still confident of the 31-year-old’s ability to perform, and he promised Jamil ample playing opportunities to entice him over to the Toa Payoh Stadium.

Attracted by the prospect of first-team action, the experienced flanker agreed to have another go at the Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League.

“Last year halfway through the season, I was thinking I want to quit football,” Jamil shared. “You know I have not been playing last year and when you are not playing you don’t feel good.

“But suddenly Balestier called me and asked me whether I wanted to play.. Marko told me he would give me chances to play, so I thought never mind, just take the chance.”

Considering his age, Jamil knows deep down that this could be his last year playing in the S.League and he is determined to go out with a bang.

After witnessing how Kraljevic transformed an unfancied Balestier into a formidable outfit which won the RHB Singapore Cup in 2014 and pushed for the S.League title last year, Jamil believes he is at the right club to achieve that.

“Balestier have good foreigners from last year. When I heard Marko said they were taking them back I was happy,” he added.

“When you play with good foreigners, they make the locals look good too, and that’s important.”

Kraljevic has already played up his new signing, as he asserted that Jamil’s experience will be vital in the Tigers’ pursuit of glory in the 2016 season.

It might seem too much to rest so much hopes on his shoulders, but Jamil does not feel pressurised by his new coach and is prepared to lead the team when the need arises.

“For me, football is all about pressure, you need pressure to play better,” Jamil said.

“I have been playing in the AFC Cup with Warriors and Tampines, I know how is the situation.

“Maybe that’s the part I can share with the players, and maybe they will know how to relax themselves, and how to handle the pressure.”