ST Picks: Fuelling a S’porean footballer’s dream in Portugal

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February 11, 2024 at 4:12 PM


February 9, 2024 at 1:24 PM

SINGAPORE – Seated in the backseat of his family car, Aymann Aris was in tears. Aged 10 at that time, he broke down after he told his mother and father, who were in front, that he was serious about becoming a professional footballer.

It was at that moment in 2021 that Azhar Aris and Sharifah Ali, both 50, were convinced about their son’s ambitions.

They then decided to embark on a “family project”, to work towards making their son’s dream a reality. That dream received a big boost with Aymann securing an initial one-year stint with the youth set-up of Portuguese fourth-tier side, SC Salgueiros in July 2023.

Last December, Aymann received his Fifa clearance and made his Salgueiros bow in January in the Porto Football Association’s Under-15 division II and has since scored three goals in four appearances.

Aymann, a winger, counts Brazilian forward Neymar and Lion City Sailors attacker Shawal Anuar as players he models his game after. The 13-year-old said over a virtual call: “I have a huge love for the sport and it is something I really enjoy. So I asked my parents If I could do it.

“I had hoped that it would be something that will take me far in life.”

His parents trawled online for information and were recommended academies like the Individual Football Training (IFT), which ran an Asia summer camp in Singapore during the June school holidays in 2022.

There, Aymann impressed and was one of three players to earn a training stint with IFT in Porto for three weeks in December 2022. ...

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