Many age-defying footballers in history

Mr Edmund Khoo Kim Hock hit the nail squarely on the head when he wrote that certain qualities of older footballers, such as technique, intelligence and experience, may be more valuable than the superior strength and work rate of younger players ("If a footballer is good enough to represent Singapore, he is young enough"; Forum Online, Sept 13).

It seems as though footballers retire earlier than players in many other sports. There are good reasons for this, as football is a physically demanding game.

However, history is full of age-defying footballers who competed at the highest level past their 40th birthdays.

At the age of 40, Dino Zoff captained the Italian national team that won the 1982 World Cup. He made 112 appearances for his country before hanging up his boots.

In 1990, 38-year-old Roger Milla scored four goals to help Cameroon become the first African nation to reach the quarter-finals of the World Cup. He scored again at the following World Cup at the "ripe old age" of 42.

Teddy Sheringham's playing career in English football spanned 24 years before his retirement at 42. In that time, he established himself with illustrious clubs such as Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United, as well as represented his country 51 times.

Singapore has its own "ageless wonder", Aleksandar Duric, who debuted for the Lions in 2007 at the age of 37.

He was a valuable member of the national squad for the Asean Football Federation Championship in 2008, 2010 and 2012. He eventually retired from international football in December 2012 at the age of 42, boasting a record of 24 goals in 53 appearances.

Every profession has an end point. Given the dynamics of top-level football, physical exertion and serious injuries may affect the health and well-being of players as they age.

However, as long as these "elder statesmen" maintain an acceptable level of fitness, they should be able to extend their careers.

Age is only a number to such tenacious individuals who are not intimidated by the size, speed, skills and strength of younger opponents.

Simon Owen Khoo Kim San