Goh Swee Swee living the sweet life

Woodlands’ Goh Swee Swee says he remains combative as ever, but is careful not to commit any silly fouls. The last time he was sent off was in 2012.

SINGAPORE - On the pitch, things have never been better.

Last season, he played a key role in Woodlands Wellington's first top-five finish since 2006.

Off the field, he is happily married and a proud father of two little girls, two-year-old Kylie and seven-month-old Kyra.

These days, the F-words that come out from the 27-year-old's mouth are mostly "family" and "football".

But there was a time when fury and fights almost destroyed his future.

Ten years ago, Goh, who was then in Home United's Under-18 side, beat up an opponent after being taunted following a friendly match.

Police were called in but, eventually, no charges were pressed. However, Goh was banned for a year by the Football Association of Singapore.

He said: "The ban and National Service changed me. NS taught me discipline and to be accountable for my own actions.

FEELING WONDERFUL

"Married life made me even more responsible. I'm always looking forward to spending time with my wife and daughters and taking them out because it makes me feel wonderful.

"I rarely get red cards nowadays (his last sending-off was in 2012).

"I'm still competitive and I'll still go in for tackles, even if it is a tactical foul that may get me sent off. But I don't get stupid red cards anymore."

Those who have seen Goh play in recent seasons will describe him as fit and fast, feisty and fearless, and someone with a knack of scoring the occasional stunning goal. He is also extremely versatile.

He has played as a left midfielder, right midfielder and right back, although he still prefers the thrill of playing up front.

Goh, who stands at 1.72 metres, slots in easily almost anywhere because of his confidence and composure on the ball.

He is loyal, too.

Despite Woodlands finishing dead last in his first two seasons with the club in 2011 and 2012, Goh persisted with the Rams.

"I enjoy being here because there are no arrogant teammates and everybody is easy-going on and off the field, just like a family," he said.

Goh was rewarded with the captain's armband on two occasions last season by former coach Salim Moin, a highlight he ranks up there along with a runners-up finish with Home United in 2007.

He said: "Finishing fifth last year was also a big achievement for us. We are still doing well at the moment.

"We are not easy to beat and we look forward to winning every game. We want to finish in the top six again, but it is not easy because every team is strong this season."

Tonight, Woodlands face their sternest test this season when they take on leaders Brunei DPMM, who have the best offensive and defensive records (24-5) in the Great Eastern-Yeo's S.League.

But Goh said: "We don't care about their record. Anything can happen in football.

"Look at Tampines, they were the champions, but we still beat them 2-1."

Goh was outstanding in that match two weeks ago. He adapted to Darren Stewart's tactics, switched from left to right midfield to keep a tight leash on Aleksandar Duric, and, at the same time, lent firepower to their attack.

The former U-23 international hopes his steady performances will catch the eye of national coach Bernd Stange.

"Of course, I want to wear the national jersey and represent Singapore one day," said Goh.

"It is not easy because clubs prefer to have big foreign strikers, but if the national coach wants to give a chance to local strikers, I hope he sees something in me."

FIXTURES

TONIGHT: l Balestier Khalsa v Harimau Muda (7.30pm, Toa Payoh Stadium) l Woodlands Wellington v Brunei DPMM (7.30pm, Woodlands Stadium) TOMORROW: l Tampines Rovers v Albirex Niigata (7.30pm, Clementi Stadium) l Geylang International v Tanjong Pagar United (7.30pm, Bedok Stadium)

FRIDAY: l Warriors v Home United (7.30pm, Jalan Besar Stadium) l Hougang United v Courts Young Lions(7.30pm, Hougang Stadium) LEADING SCORERS 9 GOALS l Rodrigo Antonio Tosi (Brunei DPMM) 8 GOALS l Roy O'Donovan (DPMM) l Geison Moura (Hougang United) 7 GOALS l Kazuki Sakamoto (Albirex Niigata) l Miroslav Pejic (Warriors) l Nicholas Velez (Warriors) 6 GOALS l Goran Ljubojevic (Balestier Khalsa) l Miljan Mrdakovic (Tampines Rovers) 5 GOALS l Leo Felice (Geylang International) l Diego Oliviera (Hougang)

S.LEAGUE

GREAT EASTERN-YEO'S S.LEAGUE

This article was published on April 30 in The New Paper.

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