Photo Credit: www.goal.com
With a couple of step-overs and dummies, Adam Swandi leaves his opponent red-faced on the ground as he dribbles skilfully towards goal. Adam Swandi first burst onto the Singapore football scene in the 2011 Lion City Cup where he shone against his counterparts from more illustrious clubs like Newcastle and Juventus. Armed with a silky touch and a vision like no others, he impressed enough to be rewarded with a two-year contract with French Ligue 2 club, FC Metz back in 2013. Today, Adam is 19 and already has four international caps to his name. Although he is now back in Singapore plying his trade with Courts Young Lions in the S-League, do not count against him returning to Europe in the near future.
1) You had the experience of playing in Europe with Metz Football Club. What is the biggest difference in the standard of football between the S-League and football in Europe even at youth level?
"There is a big difference in terms of the quality and physicality of the game. Also, European football is highly competitive even at a young age. As such, players have to work extra hard in order to earn and keep his place in the starting 11 even for a youth squad."
2) Life in Europe must have been tough with the language barrier, what are some of the obstacles (both football and non-football related) you faced while in Europe?
"Language was probably the toughest challenge I faced. Being unable to communicate effectively disrupts the gameplay and as such, I made learning French my top priority upon my arrival in FC Metz. Fortunately, I was able to pick the language up quickly with the aid of friendly staffs and fellow players. The lack of Singaporean food and the presence of my family were also some of the other challenges that I faced. I was in fact, homesick."
Photo Credit: The New Paper
3) What do you think are our Singapore footballers’ chances of being successful in Europe?
"I strongly believe that we have the calibre to do so. However, we have to improve on the physical aspect as the Europeans are generally bigger in size."
4) Turning 19 this year, you will probably be enlisting soon. Is National Service a major obstacle towards your football development?
"Initially, I felt sad about it but eventually I acknowledge the need for every Singaporean son to contribute to NS. During my NS stint, I have to ensure that my fitness does not lack behind. In terms of maintaining my touches and ball sense, I hope to find ways to do so. But in general, I am very excited to enlist soon and I feel proud to serve the country in something whether it is football or NS."
5) Lastly, where do you see yourself in 5-6 years’ time? What are your hopes for the future?
"I hope to be a regular for the national team and secure a place in a professional football club. I hope to be able to improve my technical ability, mental prowess and physicality in order to perform my best."