S'pore Para Games footballer gets real kick out of meeting Beckham

ASEAN Para Games Tour with David Beckham. (L-R): Coach Mohamed Zainudeen, football legend David Beckham and cerebral palsy footballer Khairul Anwar Kasmani.
PHOTO: MBS

Over the past few days, Singapore cerebral palsy footballer Khairul Anwar Kasmani has captured the imagination of fans and caused nightmares for opponents with four stunning long-range strikes at the ASEAN Para Games.

Yesterday, as the 29-year-old sat in a private room at the Marina Bay Sands (MBS), it was his turn to be mesmerised.

He was told by coach Mohamed Zainudeen to expect a media interview.

What Khairul got next was totally unexpected: His idol walked in, looking as sharp as ever in a designer suit.

David Beckham - renowned for his magical set-pieces - warmly embraced the Singaporean, whose pile-drivers have seen him trend on Twitter and earn comparisons with the former England captain.

Beckham had been made aware of Khairul's left-footed howitzers by MBS staff and asked to meet him.

"When Mr Beckham saw my goals on an iPad, he said: 'Great job, amazing goals, keep it up,'" Khairul gushed to The Straits Times, his mood considerably brighter as Singapore had lost 5-0 to tournament favourites Thailand earlier.

"He also signed a ball for me. It made my day."

Khairul's resume of strikes include a swerving free-kick from 25m and a looping effort from the half-way line against Myanmar - reminiscent of Beckham's famous goal against Wimbledon in 1996.

The 40-year-old Englishman was in town to support Sands for Singapore, MBS' corporate social responsibility programme.

He also watched the five-a-side football game between Singapore and Thailand at the integrated resort's convention centre.

For Khairul, the five-minute meeting with Beckham - which was also attended by MBS chief executive officer George Tanasijevich and Sport Singapore chief Lim Teck Yin - was a timely perk-up before his team's final group match against Malaysia today.

He said: "David Beckham likes the way I play. I don't want to let him or my team-mates down."


This article was first published on December 7, 2015.
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