S-League: Ang Zhi Wei overcomes rejection to make football dream a reality

S-League: Ang Zhi Wei overcomes rejection to make football dream a reality
Woodlands Wellington footballer Ang Zhi Wei (left) keeping watch over Albirex Niigata's footballer Kento Nagasaki (with ball)

SINGAPORE

I knew I wanted to be a footballer when...

My uncle took me to watch S-League matches in 1996. I was seven at that time. The memory that stands out most is of the excitement in the air and the spectators cheering. The atmosphere was electrifying.

But the reality is that spectators also jeer at players. It was hard to stomach at first when I experienced spectators hurling insults at me, but I've learnt to take it in my stride. It's all part of being a footballer. checked

I focused all my energy on football when...

At 13, I was rejected by my secondary school's basketball team. I didn't get through the trials. My height was one of the factors. It was a blow to me as I was the basketball captain at primary school.

I decided to focus on football instead as skill and speed counted more than height. The turning point was when I faced another rejection due to my size. I went for youth player trials for the now defunct Sembawang Rangers but didn't make the cut.

But I decided to take matters into my own hands and gatecrashed the training for the shortlisted players. The coach must have forgotten that he had rejected me. I was very afraid of being found out so I kept a low profile and didn't speak to the other players.

The club held a second round of selection - I passed and joined the youth team. Nobody knew about my gatecrashing.

When the club closed in 2005, I joined the National Football Academy until I was 19. From there, I went to the Prime League before getting my first contract as an S-League player last year I would be working in a marketing-related job. I have a diploma in business studies and I am currently pursuing a degree in marketing.

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