From introvert to youth coach, Adil shines in SportCares’ football programme, Latest Singapore Football News - The New Paper
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From introvert to youth coach, Adil shines in SportCares’ football programme

Growing up, Adil Juma’at was an avid football fan. But he did not get to play the sport much owing to his reserved nature.

While he would play football with his secondary school mates during recess, he headed home right after the bell as he found it difficult to approach and speak to people.

Joining the Saturday Night Lights (SNL) football programme in 2019 changed all that.

Over the past four years, the 21-year-old has gone from a participant to a youth coach in the programme, which is an initiative by Sport Singapore’s philanthropic arm SportCares.

While he initially found it challenging to interact with other participants, he warmed up to them over time with the help of his coach Herman Zailani.

The Ngee Ann Polytechnic student said: “SNL has instilled soft skills and life skills in me.

“My coach Herman gave roles to each player. For me, he gave me the role of a leader and from there I continuously learnt.

“Along the way, I made mistakes but he didn’t condemn them. He tried to improve them and I managed to improve and interact with a lot of people along this journey.”

In the 2023 SportCares Hearts Football League – a competition aimed at providing youths from disadvantaged backgrounds with opportunities to compete – Adil took on the role of youth coach with SNL team Lions United.

The men’s category concluded on Nov 18 at Woodlands Stadium in front of a crowd that included President Tharman Shanmugaratnam.

President Tharman Shanmugaratnam (centre) attending the 2023 SportCares Hearts Football League on Nov 18. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

Adil’s interest in coaching began even before he joined SNL. In secondary school, he and his cousin used to film and upload clips of himself doing various football activities like the cross-bar challenge on Instagram.

While doing these videos, he taught his cousin how to master certain techniques and found that enjoyable.

His first foray into coaching came in the SNL, when Silas Karim, a coach at the Clementi centre where Adil trained, approached him. Silas also coaches the Community Futsal Programme (CFP), which caters to youth below 13.

He said: “Adil was quiet, introverted, vulnerable, lower in self-esteem but something really stood out, he had that maturity and calmness in him. I thought maybe we could try exposing him to coaching.”

He recalled how the first coaching session was challenging for Adil, who was visibly nervous and did not know what to say.

But Adil did not give up. He started group coaching with one or two youngsters and is now helping Silas out, leading the sessions for both programmes.

Adil’s interest in coaching began even before he joined the Saturday Night Lights programme. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

Adil began assisting with the SNL teams in 2022, when his coach Herman was unable to make it for matches as he was also assistant coach of Singapore Premier League side Tanjong Pagar United.

Silas said: “The thing about Adil is his persistence, he never fails to try... He has improved tremendously...

“He can lead the boys, he can influence change. I sometimes let him take portions of the game, so he can lead matches.”

The journey has been rewarding for Adil, who often sees his younger self in his charges.

He said: “For me, it’s to see the players grow to be better from day one. Something I always tell myself it’s the journey not the destination.

“Seeing the players being a better version of themselves and them being more than willing to share things with us, we are their listening ear. So that is something I enjoy the most about coaching.”


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