A Tale Of Three Keepers
Boxing Day offered different experiences for three goalies, beginning with Grilled International's new starter Querubim Santos Couto
, who got a rude awakening in a 1-6 cup loss to Dominican Republic visitors The Jackals.
An easy clean sheet against Samotišky Saints definitely hadn't prepared him sufficiently for the Jackals' offence, which saw Danish veteran Claus Amby tear the International backline apart. Subhi bin Hj Ahmad
gave International a lifeline with his equaliser off a nice Soo Kiong Yau
corner, but Amby and fellow Portuguese Henrique Camarada were just too electric.
It went better for Busy Bees mainstay Luo Shangxuan, who had a number of proposals lined up, while still with the International youth academy. Sergiolese (Italian Division Eight), Catalon city (Iranian Division Six) and MaNDa CaRaLLo F.C. (Spanish Division Six) all had firm offers in place, but Luo's final destination would turn out to be Rio de Janeiro club 1977 CRVG, whose ambitious Finnish head coach Jaakkima Virsula is looking to the fifth division.
The departure of previous goalie Eugênio Garcez for S$4.7 million to big Japanese side Eagles Football Stars must be seen as a huge plus for Luo's future, with Virsula set to rotate him with former Palestra-MG trainee Heriberto Carvalhaes in goal. Bees head scout Zulfadly bin Hj Ratano for one recognized how big a break Luo had been handed.
"CRVG are serious about development, and Luo fits their system particularly well, as a diligent worker." Zulfadly noted. "Although his physical tools aren't too far above average, he has worked to shore up his weaknesses, and is particularly good at organizing on set-pieces."
Over at Farmer Bunnies, Hrishikesh Kumar too went for a nominal fee to Polish seventh division club Szalony Rolek, in the process rejecting a comparable bid from Belgian Division Six side fc sambakiker. As with CRVG, Szalony Rolek have a fine record of producing fine custodians, and have just sold Bronisław Kleczkowski and Gonzalo Callero in multi-million dollar deals.
Kumar will join Italian youngster Camillo Marzialetti to become Władek Znyk's newest high-profile projects, but for the Singaporean teen, any professional contract at all appeared to be a vain hope, merely two years ago.
He had been rejected by no less than five junior outfits in turn, as Kim Tae Hee FC, CoCoTeaTree Islanders, Sandy Footprints and Huntsmen FC all deemed him not good enough for their U-20 teams, with the now-dormant goldenJunior deciding likewise. Yip De Da finally took him on for the Rancher Rabbits, and he turned out to be a pair of safe hands with them.
Yip wasn't surprised by Kumar's success. "He always had that hunger to make it. It's what separates the winners from the also-rans at this level, once you have a basic level of skill. Hrish may not have ideal size, but his agility and box speed has been second to none."