Sahil's fit to play, at last

Sahil's fit to play, at last
Courts Young Lions striker Sahil Suhaimi in action during a training session at Jalan Besar Stadium on 18 February 2014.

At long last, the Courts Young Lions can unleash striker Sahil Suhaimi in the Great Eastern-Yeo's S.League.

The 21-year-old passed the league's mandatory 2.4-kilometre fitness test on Monday evening, on his sixth attempt.

Sahil, who starred at last December's South-east Asia (SEA) Games, clocked between 10min 12sec and 11min 30sec in his previous five attempts and has not played a competitive match this year.

Watched by players from the LionsXII and the Singapore Under-17s, who were involved in a friendly at the Yishun Stadium on Monday, he ran 9min 55sec - five seconds under the passing mark.



"I collapsed as soon as I passed the 2.4km mark, and the LionsXII guys were cheering for me," Sahil told The New Paper last night.

"As soon as I heard that I made it, I was just relieved that I didn't have to take the test again.

"It's been really tough. After I failed for the third time (last month), I was even considering giving up football - I was that demoralised."

Since his first failed attempt in mid-January, national coach Bernd Stange moved to place the young striker on extra workouts with Football Association of Singapore fitness coach Aleksandar Bozenko.

What also helped him pass were the words of encouragement from his family, teammates and coach Aide Iskandar.

"Coach Aide had been reminding me almost every day that I had to pass the test," said Sahil, who made his S.League debut as a 17-year-old in 2010.

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