Football: Geylang International's teen scorer Vasileios Zikos Chua wants more than just a place in record books

Geylang International's striker Vasileios Zikos Chua, who turned 17 the day after scoring in Geylang's 1-0 win over Young Lions, became the third-youngest player to score in Singapore's 24-year-old professional football league, and its youngest match
Geylang International's striker Vasileios Zikos Chua, who turned 17 the day after scoring in Geylang's 1-0 win over Young Lions, became the third-youngest player to score in Singapore's 24-year-old professional football league, and its youngest match-winner.PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER

SINGAPORE - He had planned to play it cool, but after scoring for the first time in the Singapore Premier League (SPL) last weekend, Geylang International's teenage striker Vasileios Zikos Chua could not contain himself.

He wheeled away from goal at full speed, arms outstretched, and screamed at the top of his lungs, in an expression of pure joy not too dissimilar to former Italy striker Marco Tardelli's iconic manic celebration at the 1982 World Cup.

Vasileios, who turned 17 the day after scoring in Geylang's 1-0 win over Young Lions, became the third-youngest player to score in Singapore's 24-year-old professional football league, and its youngest match-winner.

Hariss Harun (16 years, 174 days) is the youngest scorer in the league when he netted against SAFFC in 2007, while Fareez Farhan (16 years, 331 days) is the next-youngest when he scored in 2011.

"I had a few things in mind (for the celebration), and usually I'll just jump and pump my fist in the air.

"But after I scored, I just lost control of the situation," the youngster sheepishly told The Straits Times, ahead of Geylang's game against Hougang United on Saturday (April 20).

Born to a Singaporean father and a Greek mother, Chua grew up in Kastoria, northern Greece, and moved to Singapore when he was 10.

His given name, Vasileios, means "King" in Greek, but is a mouthful for Singaporean tongues, and so his teammates and coaches call him "Bill", a shorter, direct translation.

Chua acknowledges he is still learning to juggle his professional football ambitions with his studies - he is a first-year student at Nanyang Junior College - but adds that milestones, like his maiden strike, give him the motivation to keep going in both.

"It was an extremely special moment, and it meant a lot to me," he said.

"Growing up and wanting to be a professional, it's a huge landmark to get your first goal. It was a dream come true.

"All I want to do now is give 100 per cent in all the games I play, and make sure I'm not content with what I have now; I have to keep improving and working hard."

Geylang coach Noor Ali, who coached Vasileios at Tanjong Katong Secondary School for four years, said: "Bill is a smart boy. As a coach, I'm proud to see a young player who can balance his studies and football, because I think that comes only with the right attitude.

"But he has just turned 17, and football-wise, he still has a long way to go."

Noor is hoping his side can continue their good form with a third win on the trot but noted Hougang, who are one spot above fourth-placed Geylang on the SPL table, are no pushovers.

It is perhaps a testament to the improvement of both teams - who occupied the bottom two spots last season - that a win for either on Saturday would propel them up to second in the league for at least 24 hours.

"We'll go out and play our normal game, but we also know Hougang have good quality and depth in their squad, and we have to keep an eye out for two or three players," said Noor.

"Both teams want to do well and move up the table, so I'm expecting a tough game."