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

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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