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Five Questions With: Kadir Yahya


SingaporeSports.sg caught up with former national footballer and Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games Football Team Coach, Kadir Yahya 


What are you currently doing?
 

I am coaching the Singapore Sports School Under-13 team, the Secondary One boys. The team comprises of mainly normal academic and express students.

 

How do you feel about your YOG boys winning the sportsboy Team of the Year Award?

 

On a personal level and as a coach, I am very proud of them. I think it’s quite taxing for them but they coped very well. By winning this award they’ve created history, not only for themselves but for the country. 

 

What was it like coaching them?

 

I was surprised at the magnitude of the game and the support the boys got; through the media, the packed stadium and even from the ministerial level. This is something big and my concern was: can these boys cope? They’ve suddenly become famous and became the talk of the town. So I just hoped they could handle the pressure and not break.

 

What did you say to the boys at halftime of the Bronze Medal match?

 

At half time, the score was 1-1 but my main concern was for Jeffrey and his injury. So I was surprised when he told me “Coach, I can play!” I had to make a quick decision. I said “No, Jeffrey. Your safety is my priority.” So the ambulance took him. Then, I calmed myself down and sat in front of the boys. I didn’t talk about the game. I didn’t talk about the goals, or who played well. I said “Look, there are three things we need to know. The captain, Jeffrey, is down. He wants to play, it shows he’s determined. Your coach is down. And then the country is down - you have been the high point for the nation. You are going to have forty minutes. So if you go out there and give your best, no one can fault you. This is the only moment and it’s for Singapore.” So they went out and immediately responded with goals. When the final whistle blew, I was in tears.

 

How do you think your YOG boys will fare in the Lion City Cup?

 

I am sure they will do very well. Almost 90% of the squad is there. The thing now is for them to gel together because they have not been playing together for quite some time, so they have to train hard as a team. The good thing is that the tournament is in Singapore. I hope the memories of the YOG will come back to Singaporeans and I hope the fans will come back to give them the same support.