Nur Adam Abdullah was in disbelief when he was named the winner of The New Paper Dollah Kassim award yesterday evening at the Football Association of Singapore's Football Academy (FFA) Under-18 graduation ceremony.
After all, the FFA U-18 left-back was nominated for the award two years ago but did not win.
The 17-year-old received his award at the FAS' Jalan Besar headquarters after edging out seven other nominees. They are:
•FFA U-18 teammate Rezza Rezky Ramadhani,
•Harhys Rizal Gareth Stewart and Abdul Rasaq Ishiekwene Akeem (both FFA U-17)
• Ryaan Sanizal and Iman Hakim Ibrahim (both FFA U-16)
•Andrew Aw Yong Rei and Ong Yu En (both FFA U-15)
Nur Adam is the ninth recipient of the award and in addition to a trophy, he earned an overseas training stint with a prestigious academy, courtesy of Singapore Pools. Previous winners had the chance to train with English Premier League side Newcastle and French clubs Metz and St-Etienne.
"I was surprised and I'm still shaking, but I'm very happy to have won the award," the Singapore Sports School student told TNP after the ceremony.
"I want to thank my parents, coaches, and teammates for supporting me and motivating me to work harder each day."
The TNP award was started in 2010 to recognise Singapore's football talents aged 18 and below who have displayed football excellence and strong character - some of the notable attributes former national player Dollah Kassim possessed.
The late Dollah, known affectionately as the "Gelek King" for his dribbling ability, was adored by many and regarded as one of the nation's best footballers.
He died at 61 in 2010 and the TNP initiated the award in partnership with the FAS to honour him.