News Singapore Premier League • May 1, 2018
Surprise package Faizal feeling right at Home
The former Young Lions defender has featured in every game for the Protectors and is tipped to go far
Faizal Roslan (no. 15) has made a good start to life at new club Home United FC.
SINGAPORE, 1 MAY 2018 – Having lost a slew of key players from last season, there were some who thought Home United FC would struggle to have a good campaign.
But the Protectors have made a fine start to this year thanks to several players who have stepped up, least of all young centre-back Faizal Roslan.
Signed from the Young Lions, the 22-year-old is making sure that the loss of Irfan Fandi has not been felt acutely and has been a surprise fixture in Aidil Sharin’s Home line-up.
Faizal is one of only four players to have completed every one of Home’s four Great Eastern-Hyundai Singapore Premier League (SPL) matches so far, while he has also featured in all six of their AFC Cup group games with five of those being starts.
Having also struck his first professional goals – one in the AFC Cup against Shan United and another a week later in the SPL against Geylang International FC – it has been a dream return to Bishan so far for the former Home Under-18 player.
“The best moment (of my career) for me is joining Home because I’ve been wanting to play for them since I was young,” he told SPL.
“To be honest, it was unexpected for me to get a call from Coach Aidil and I was very excited about it. I was surprised that he was interested in getting me into the team as I know Home is a big club in Singapore.
“I was shocked in the beginning to be involved with the first team straight away, but I’m thankful for the trust and faith that Coach Aidil has put in me.”
Faizal in action for the Young Lions last season, where he made 18 appearances.
But for Aidil, it is simply a matter of his belief in the player reaping rewards, having kept tabs on Faizal since 2015 when he was playing for Tampines Rovers FC’s Prime League side.
“A lot of people asked me who Faizal is when I brought him to Home this year,” he told SPL. “But I had faith in him because if you are good enough, you are good enough.
“I have been following his progress from Tampines to the Young Lions and am impressed as he has got the height and technically, he’s good with the ball – he is comfortable with either foot and it is rare to find that sort of player in Singapore, apart from Juma’at Jantan.”
Aidil pointed out that Faizal’s performances in the AFC Cup have been a particular highlight, noting: “He’s done well with his (young) age and inexperience (at this level), not forgetting that he has been facing foreign strikers throughout.”
Faizal concurred, describing the AFC Cup as a “different ball game” and believes the club has done “incredibly well” with just two foreign players in their ranks to top Group F and make it to the Asean Zonal semi-finals to play Persija Jakarta.
It could all have gone so differently had Faizal chose to give up on football after failing to make the 2013 Asian Youth Games squad, back when he was a Singapore Sports School student and part of the National Football Academy (NFA, now FAS Football Academy or FFA).
“I was demoralised badly and even lost interest in football at that point of time,” he recalled. “I even asked for a transfer out from Sports School.”
The transfer did happen – Faizal went to Kent Ridge Secondary School to start Sec 3 – but he eventually regained his passion for football, thanks to his family and friends.
Faizal scored his first ever league goal with a sweet volley (1:42) earlier this April
The tough-tackling Faizal cites his father as his idol, having first picked up football when the latter brought him to West Coast Park for a kick-about during his kindergarten days.
As he went on to play for his schools, his father was a constant presence at matches and a pillar of support.
“He came to watch my games and gave me advice without fail,” Faizal said. “I’ve seen him play before for his company, but his days were cut short due to a serious knee injury.”
Now, a year and a half on from his professional debut with the Young Lions, Faizal is determined to push on at Home. Having completed his National Service last November, he is committed full-time to football and knows he has plenty of room for improvement.
“It’s really different playing here as compared to the Young Lions as we don’t have any experienced players to guide us there,” he said. “Here, I have Juma’at to give me tips and I’m really trying to absorb and learn as much as I can.”
The Home number 15 is targeting the SPL title this season, while a move abroad to play professionally is a long-term aim.
Aidil rates Faizal highly, comparing him to current National Team stalwart Safuwan Baharudin, and believes centre-back is his best position, despite the youngster’s ability to play at both full-back roles and in defensive midfield.
“He reminds me of Safuwan as both are tall, lanky and two-footed,” he said. “He reads the game well, has height, does not make unnecessary fouls and he has the potential to replace Abdil (Qaiyyim) and Juma’at to lead the team in future.
“If he stays humble and keeps working hard, in two years’ time he should be ready (to play) for the National Team.”