SINGAPORE - They were the favourites going into the National Schools Games (NSG) C Division football final but the boys from Singapore Sports School (SSP) were given a stern test by Queensway Secondary School on Thursday (Aug 2) before claiming the title with a hard-fought 2-1 win.
SSP defender Adam Reefdy Hasyim gave his team the lead at Our Tampines Hub, scoring from a speculative long-distance effort in the 30th minute.
But the 14-year-old turned from hero to villain when he conceded a penalty in the 38th minute which was tucked away by Queensway's Farid Jafiri.
Amir Syafiz Abdul Rashid saved his team-mate's blushes when he scored the winning goal in the 45th minute.
"I didn't expect to score, but I was given the opportunity (to shoot) and I just took it," said Adam. "I am very proud of the team today but, more importantly, the opponents gave us a good fight and you could see their fighting spirit all the way up till the final whistle."
SSP coach Shahrin Shari took extra effort to calm his charges' nerves as seven players in the XI are Secondary 1 students making their debuts in the C Division.
The team also had to endure a nerve-wracking penalty shoot-out victory over St Patrick's School in the semi-finals on Tuesday which finished 2-2 after extra-time.
"Most of the boys have not played on this platform before so my advice to them was to just focus on their usual approach to the game," he said.
"I'm glad that we won and also with the way we won it. We tried to play positive and possession-based football and I saw the effort from my players today. But credit to Queensway who pushed us much as they could."
Man of the Match Amir, who is in Secondary 2, said: "I feel relieved and happy to win at the same time because the B Division team did well and my team and I wanted to prove that we could do it too."
The triumph completed an SSP double in the NSG this year, with their B Division seniors crowned champions in April after beating Meridian Secondary School 2-0 in the final.
In an earlier game on Thursday, Serangoon Gardens Secondary School beat St Patrick's School 3-2 to take third place in the C Division.