QPR stint an eye-opener

QPR stint an eye-opener
FULL FOCUS: Andin Addie Djayady (second from near left) observing a training session with seven others on a stint at the QPR academy.

As Andin Addie Djayady laced up his boots on Friday afternoon at the academy of Championship club Queens Park Rangers, his mind wandered a bit.

"I'm starting to feel as though I'm actually an academy player at QPR," the 17-year-old said dreamily.

"Training with the team every day, wearing the kit, I feel inspired. "I wish a miracle would happen and they would sign me!"

Throughout the past week, Andin and seven other young footballers have been training at the QPR academy with the club's youth team after excelling during a coaching clinic - a regional initiative by QPR's shirt sponsor AirAsia - held in Singapore and Malaysia last November.

Three others are also Singaporeans - Syafiq Irawan (16), Shanthana Barthi (16) Saifullah Akbar (15). The rest are Malaysians.

They returned on Sunday, after marching out together with QPR's professional players just before Saturday's Championship clash with Blackpool at Loftus Park.

Andy Evans, the chief executive of QPR in the Community Trust - QPR's charity arm - said: "Our aim is to use football and the QPR brand to inspire young people. What we've tried to do this past week was try to show them what life is like as a young player at a professional club here in the UK.

"They've also been to watch the first team, so they understand the time and discipline required to make it in football.

"Everyone at the club has been impressed by the Singaporean boys - they've got a very, very positive attitude, and they're very open in wanting to improve their game."

The experience has been an eye-opener for the local boys.

"The cold weather got some getting used to," said Andin of the 10 deg C temperature.

Saifullah, who has trained at French side FC Metz, said: "The intensity here is very high, they train like they're playing in a World Cup final. From start to finish, they train hard. In Singapore, we tend to go all out only in games."

Rikram Jit Singh, the Football Association of Singapore's assistant director of commercial and business development, said: "Our partnership with AirAsia has been mutually beneficial and we hope more corporate partners will step forward to work together with us to bring Singapore football to greater heights."

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