Hazim Faiz Hassan nearly gave up football

Just three years ago, he warmed the bench for the Singapore Under-16s as the team cheered the nation with a third-placed finish at the inaugural Youth Olympic Games here.

During that period, striker Hazim Faiz Hassan was often berated by Abdullah Noor, his coach at the Singapore Sports School, who was unhappy with the teenager's lack of movement, poor positional sense and composure in front of goal.

It got so bad that Hazim even flirted with the idea of giving up football.

Today, The New Paper Dollah Kassim Award nominee is very happy he did not follow through with the idea of chucking it all in.

The National Football Academy (NFA) Under-18 striker is scoring for fun these days.

He banged in 27 goals for the NFA Reds in the Prime League this season, almost half of the 60 the Football Association of Singapore's developmental team scored en route to a third-placed finish in the competition.

Hazim's tally was only one behind top scorer Nur Hizami of Home United.

Speaking to TNP last week, 18-year-old Hazim said: "My best qualities now are my finishing and my positioning.

"The team rely on me to score and I have to be reliable in being in the right position to receive the crosses and passes, and finishing them off."

His father, Hassan Borhan, is a major figure in his life.

Said Hazim: "He's suffered a heart attack before and undergoes dialysis these days; even with these setbacks he's still going strong and letting us know that he's fine.

"Along with my mum, my dad is always present at my games, and I feel really grateful and inspired to do well in football."

NFA U-18 coach Dejan Gluscevic: "Hazim is very good in creating goalscoring opportunities for himself in shooting areas and has a very good technique in striking the ball. He can use both feet and his head.

"He scored three goals in three games at the ASEAN Football Federation Under-19 Championship. Also, he helped the NFA Reds cement our position as second runners-up in the Prime League, and we were also the highest scoring team."

Hazim, who is currently studying at the Singapore Polytechnic, hopes to carry his scoring form to the S-League, and eventually to the national team.

The soft-spoken teenager said: "I hope to play in the S-League in the future, but of course going overseas to play would be a bonus.

"And I couldn't be more proud to wear the Singapore flag on my chest now and I hope to do it for the senior team in the future."


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