It's official

It's official
Tampines Rovers' striker Aleksander Duric on his Harley Davidson motorcycle.

Some people call him a lunatic. The statistics suggest he should be a legend.

Counting down to the end of an illustrious football career, the 43-year-old Singapore warhorse Aleksandar Duric is still picking up world-firsts.

The Tampines Rovers striker is officially the oldest international scorer with his goal in the 3-0 victory over Malaysia in a 2012 Suzuki Cup group match, when he was aged 42 years and 105 days.

That effort helped him pip Cameroon's Roger Milla by 66 days, although Milla still holds the record for being the oldest player and scorer in a World Cup Finals with his goal in the 6-1 group stage defeat by Russia in 1994, when he was 42 years and 39 days old.

That was also Milla's last international match.

Football statistics foundation RSSSF states that MacDonald Taylor Sr, from the US Virgin Islands, holds the world record as the oldest player in a Fifa international match, when he turned out in the 7-0 drubbing by St Kitts and Nevis at 46 years and 217 days.

Duric's achievement came to light in a BBC report about Mauritian Kersley Appou, who became the oldest African international, aged 43 years and 354 days, when he played in the 1-0 defeat by Mauritania last Friday.

Appou can surpass Duric's mark if he scores in the return leg today.

"I'm a striker and I love to score goals. I don't think so much about personal awards," Duric, who has 54 caps and 27 international goals, told The New Paper.

"But it's a nice compliment and something for my kids to know that daddy was a good player. It's not something that happens every day or overnight.

"People don't see the many years of hard work and extra training that I've put in.

"At this age, I still enjoy torturing my body with extra gymwork and running, and people call me a lunatic for that.

"In the bigger picture, it's better for Singapore football to gain international recognition from this, and that more people now know we have a professional league and that we are ASEAN champions."

Incredibly, this is not Duric's first world-best accolade.

In 2011, The International Federation of Football History and Statistics dubbed the Bosnia-born Serb "the world's most successful top division goal-scorer among the still active players".

The 2013 S.League champion (with Tampines Rovers) and topscorer has shown that he can still score, with three goals in eight S.League matches this season, taking his grand total to a whopping 381 goals.

However, even as the Singapore national team's recent scoring woes have been well-documented , Duric, who is quitting football at the end of this season, insisted he will not come out of international retirement.

"I cannot wait to support Singapore when the Suzuki Cup is hosted at the new Sports Hub later this year," said Duric, who will pursue a Uefa A coaching licence later this year.

"If need be, I can help out as part of the coaching staff to impart some experience and tips as a striker, or to help out in terms of fitness coaching, but not as a player.

"I just hope that the younger players can see that only when you are fit, then you can give of your best.

"The future is theirs and it can be bright if they work hard. As for me, I'm 100 per cent done and this will definitely be my last season and I'm going to enjoy it."

This article was published on April 20 in The New Paper.

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