From devastated to devastating

From devastated to devastating
PHOTO: The New Paper

It was the farthest thing from his mind nine months ago, but this could just be the year Fazrul Nawaz makes Singapore football history.

Back in January, the striker's dream move to Malaysian Premier League outfit Sabah turned into a nightmare.

His contract was terminated in controversial fashion. He was forced to train on his own for almost three months before the green light was given in April for him to be signed by his former club Warriors FC.

The Singapore international has often expressed his gratitude for that lifeline, although he has already repaid them with his 14 goals in the Great Eastern Yeo's S.League.

His goals are one reason third-placed Warriors remain in the running to retain the title, despite having the league's worst defensive record.

Furthermore, Fazrul, who leads the scorers' chart jointly with Balestier Khalsa's Miroslav Kristic and Brunei DPMM's Rafael Ramazotti, is also in contention to become the S.League's first local-born top scorer.

Naturalised citizens Aleksandar Duric, Mirko Grabovac and Egmar Goncalves are the only Singaporeans to have clinched the Golden Boot.

However, it is a different milestone Fazrul is aiming for come the end of the season: A record-extending 10th league crown for the Warriors.

"Of course, I'm very happy to be challenging for the top-scorer award, but the team come first," he told The New Paper.

Team over self

"The exciting thing is that we have a chance to retain the S.League title and I really want to win it for Warriors.

"It (his failed stint with Sabah) turned out to be a blessing in disguise and I just have to look at the positives."

Despite his deadly scoring form, Fazrul is not one to rest on his laurels.

As his teammates were cooling down after training at Jalan Besar Stadium yesterday, the 30-year-old did some extra finishing practice with fellow attacker Miroslav Pejic - despite his recent exertions with the national team.

Fazrul is quick to give credit to his influences, calling it "a privilege" to have watched the way Noh Alam Shah trained during his youth days with Sembawang Rangers, while also revealing he was "lucky to have a mentor like Aleksandar Duric" at Geylang International.

Warriors coach Alex Weaver also received praise.

Said Fazrul: "I have to thank him for adding another dimension to my game and keeping me focused on thinking of what's going to happen next during a game."

The Warriors boss believes it would be a big moment if his striker does go on to claim the Golden Boot.

Weaver added: "It would obviously be significant because of the history, but knowing Faz, there is no doubt he would take the league title over individual glory.

"But it would be a positive for Singapore football and the S.League and it goes to show there is talent here.

"It just needs to be nurtured."

This article was first published on October 16, 2015.
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