Adam's off to chase his dream
The talented youngster left for France on last Sunday's night, bound for the FC Metz football academy.
Wearing a stylish cardigan over a chequered red shirt buttoned all the way to the top, Adam Swandi looked ready to embrace all that was French.
The talented youngster left for France last Sunday's night, bound for the FC Metz football academy.
The 17-year-old recently signed a two-year deal with the French third-tier side as he chases his goal of becoming a professional footballer in Europe.
While he has already started French lessons and is looking forward to getting out onto the football pitch, there is much still to be done to ensure that his Gallic adventure is a smooth one.
Adam is a minor, and Fifa rules stipulate that if he is to continue his football education in an academy in a foreign country, he must be accompanied by family members who have to live in the country.
Football Association of Singapore (FAS) president Zainudin Nordin, who helped secure the tie-up, told The New Paper on Monday that the wheels are already in motion to ensure that Adam's parents - 57-year-old Swandi Kitto, and Hamidah Dasuki, 54, join him there.
"We are working on it, getting help from the relevant agencies, and using my network wherever possible to make sure that happens. All over the world
"FC Metz have had talent coming from all over the world, and they are familiar with the situation. More importantly, his parents know just what sort of sacrifices are required to help Adam pursue his dream, and I'm grateful that both Swandi and his wife are so supportive," said Zainudin.
Besides Adam, the Metz academy, which has produced the likes of Robert Pires, signed two Indian boys - Maanas Kalra and Shiv Jhangiani - last December.
Adam first came to prominence at the 2011 Canon Lion City Cup when he starred for the Singapore Under-15s.
He has been improving, and his father, former Singapore international Swandi, knows what is required of him to fuel his son's European dream.
Speaking to local media at Changi Airport last Sunday's night, he said both he and his wife are prepared to go as far as it takes.
"I'm proud and I hope Adam can progress further and succeed there. Both of us will be going over to France to join him later," said Swandi, who currently works in in the manpower deployment sector.
Besides helping Adam's parents settle in Metz, a city in the north-east of France, the FAS is also keeping an eye on the teenager's education. While Adam will earn a stipend from the club as a player on their academy roster, the FAS has set aside around $200,000 from their Football Development Fund to pay for his education.
"We're supporting him from the academic side of things so that he can focus on the football," said Zainudin, who hopes Adam will blaze a trail for others to follow.
"FC Metz academy director Denis Schaeffer was in Singapore recently, and he was impressed with some of our other players, and we are looking to build relationships and implement systems that will help us do that."
In addition to Singapore referees heading to Europe for a course with Uefa, technical directors from European football's governing body will come here to share their experiences in youth development and coaches education.
The Singapore under-18 side will also be flying up to France mid-year to meet Adam and play a few games there.
Just before he left last night, Adam said he simply wanted to focus on his football.
"I do feel a little bit of pressure, because almost everyone knows about this (Metz stint) and is expecting me to do well," he said.
"I just hope I can help to open doors for Singapore football.
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