Watching Singaporeans showcase their talents outside our little island has always brought us pride. While we might just be a little far off in those aspects with football, there are indeed a couple of footballers from here who’ve brought us international pride (though whether this is associated to national pride is questionable).
“A Singaporean made it overseas? NOW they legit!” A sentence we’ve heard far too often.
We give you some some footballers from Singapore who made it on a global scale!
The first Singaporean football player to play in Europe! After a brief one year spell with Indonesian club Mitra Kukar, Fandi signed a two year deal with the Dutch team, FC Groningen. He scored a brace on his debut in a 2-0 victory over Go Ahead Eagles and even scored another goal on his second match against the great Inter Milan.
Fandi has acclaimed legendary status in Singapore, and there’s even a Singaporean superhero that has been named after him in a comic book series called Crimson Star!
At just 28 years of age, Hariss Harun has been the highest-paid Singaporean footballer since 2015. After rejecting a contract from the Portuguese Rio Ave in 2013, Harun signed with Malaysia Super League’s Johor Darul Ta’zim for a staggering $42,000 a month deal.
Besides his phenomenal paycheck, he has also trained at Barcelona’s La Masia training academy, going as far as to earn the ‘Most Valuable Player’ award during his time there.
Known for his technical abilities and versatility at playing in different positions on the pitch, Safuwan Baharudin signed for Manchester City’s associated club, Melbourne City from Australia in 2015.
Despite only playing a total of six games for the club, Baharudin impressed during his friendly matches, and was even pit up against strikers such as Mirko Vučinić of Juventus.
Often referred to as the next Fandi Ahmad, Adam Swandi is one of the most promising Singaporean footballers in recent times. On top of signing for French Ligue 2’s FC Metz (youth team) in 2013, Swandi has gone on to train with Europe’s big guns such as Chelsea and Atletico Madrid, with the latter even offering him a contract which Swandi rejected.
Here’s the first Singaporean to have played professionally in South America! Irfan Fandi, a descendant of the great Fandi, is touted by many to possibly be the best Singaporean footballer, surpassing his father. His calibre was celebrated even further when Guardian named him in a list world football’s 40 best young talents back in 2014.
Fandi is currently playing for BG Pathum United in Thailand.
The latest one to the squad! 18-year old Ben Davis has just made his first team…yes you read it right, FIRST TEAM debut for Fulham F.C. yesterday. Davis came on as a substitute in the Carabao Cup against English Premier League team, Southampton. He might have just entered the pitch at the 89th minute but his attitude and professionalism were very much admired by Fulham manager and West Ham United legend, Scott Parker. Let’s wish this bright talent all the success, and we would love to see him in the EPL one day!
We can only hope that more players from our nation attain this level of quality in the near future, so that we stand a chance at even getting a whiff of the 2034 World Cup.
With a majority of these players having signed to clubs overseas, one can only wonder if they’re hoping to one day play for Singapore.