SINGAPORE - He is proving to be an anomaly in local sport - a footballer whose game has thrived while he serves his national service.
But the reason behind Afiq Yunos' fine form with the Courts Young Lions in the Great Eastern-Yeo's S-League is simple.
"When I was in camp, I could not go out at all," said the 22-year-old, who in April received permission from his Army supervisors to resume playing.
"I wanted to be in the team but I couldn't, so when the time to shine came, I gave it my all."
It has paid off. He and Delwinder Singh are the only two S-League players named in the Singapore Under-23 side to face their Indonesia counterparts at Jalan Besar Stadium on Saturday.
The other 22 players selected all play regularly under coach V. Sundramoorthy in the LionsXII.
"I'm really grateful to be selected," Afiq said. "I've been waiting for this since enlisting in February 2012."
His form since returning to action has been impressive - the Young Lions' two League Cup wins this season both featured goals by the 1.84m-tall centre-back.
"He's been playing very well in the S-League," Sundram pointed out. "He's a very useful player who's good in the air, physically strong and very disciplined."
The 47-year-old was similarly full of praise for Delwinder, who missed yesterday's training session as he was helping Geylang International record a 1-0 league win at Hougang United.