Singapore-Nokia MVPs head to Blackburn Rovers

On the surface, both Syaifudin Said and Sheer Mohamed look like the average football-loving dude in Singapore. One’s a Weekend Warrior who plays street football regularly with his pals; the other is a midfielder for his school team. However, come 13 November 2006, the two will be embarking on a journey that’s anything but ordinary. According to the S-League website, both have been rewarded for their outstanding performances in the Nokia-Football Association of Singapore Defend Your Turf Challenge held earlier this year - with a two week training stint with English Premier League side Blackburn Rovers FC.

It’s a chance of a lifetime for both Sheer, 18 and Syaifudin, 22, who never expected this treat. “When I first knew that I had been selected for the Blackburn stint, I was shocked and stuck for quite a while in disbelief,” said Syaifudin with a laugh. Everything just happened so fast. In May, I actually didn’t know of this tournament until my friend registered me for it!

But lest you think the two lads are blessed with pure luck, they didn’t bag the opportunity to go UK merely by joining the Defend Your Turf tournament. In fact, both were named as the tournament’s Most Valuable Players by a panel of judges made up of staff coaches from the Football Association of Singapore and members of the media.

For their hard work and efforts, they will get to train under Blackburn Rovers’ community academy coaches, who will put them through a series of drills and tactical sessions. For Sheer, who plays on Catholic Junior College’s school football team, he is doubly excited, for training program aside, he and Syaifudin are also scheduled to watch two live EPL matches. “One match is Blackburn versus Tottenham, and the other is Bolton against Arsenal,” said Sheer. “I’m a huge Arsenal fan and I can’t wait to see Thierry Henry in action!”

The Blackburn Rovers-EduKick program was customised for Nokia-Football Association of Singapore by Football Dynamics Asia.