Having his goal during the Garena Young Lions’ previous match against Hougang United FC on 15 September selected as goal of the week came as a surprise for Rusyaidi Salime, even though he has been constantly working on his freekicks after training.
With the return fixture scheduled for tomorrow at Jalan Besar Stadium, the right-back will be hoping to replicate his form in that match.
Rusyaidi was called up to the National Team for the first time this month for the friendly match against Qatar and Asian Football Confederation Asian Cup Qualifier against Turkmenistan. Though he did not play, just training with the National Team was already an unforgettable experience for him.
“Ever since I trained with the National Team, I can see an improvement in my technical abilities and maturity in the game. I take every training session seriously and try to work on my weaknesses at every session,” he enthused.
The 19-year-old has been a regular starter for the Young Lions and while the developmental squad has not had the best of seasons – recording their first win of the season on 14 October against Warriors FC but falling to Geylang International FC in their last match on Saturday – Rusyaidi has chosen to look at positives.
“We really have improved individually and also as a team. We have learnt to take responsibility when it comes to one-on-one situations, and take defending seriously whether it’s from set pieces or during open play. We also better understand each other’s abilities and play together towards the team’s strengths. Our fitness levels have also improved throughout the season as more of us are able to cover greater distances during matches.”
The 2016 Dollah Kassim Award winner recognised the difficulty in playing against more experienced and skilled players in the S.League, but pointed out that the young team has, on occasion, shown that they are capable of matching up to them.
“I believe that my team is willing to fight and give their best till the final whistle against Hougang United. My team and I really want to end the season on a high and we are not likely to be happy with one win for this season. So these last few matches we are definitely going for the 3 points, but we’ll take it step by step, game by game.”
Garena Young Lions Head Coach Vincent Subramaniam acknowledged the 19-year-old’s potential, saying: “Rusyaidi is a good player and, without any doubt, he will be able to reach far as long as he keeps up a positive attitude towards football. He definitely has the potential but along with that must come hard work.”
On preparing the boys to face the Cheetahs after only two days of rest, Coach Subramaniam said: “More than anything else, we are going to be motivating the boys for them to gain confidence to play tomorrow’s match and work on their mental aspect.”
The Garena Young Lions will host Hougang United FC at Jalan Besar Stadium on 24 October 2017 at 7.30pm.