TNP Dollah Kassim award: Teammate's win spurs Rezza
The New Paper continues its feature on TNP Dollah Kassim award nominees with Rezza Rezky Ramadhani
Seeing his friend and teammate, Joel Chew, scoop The New Paper Dollah Kassim award last year only spurred Rezza Rezky Ramadhani to work harder to improve himself.
Both players, who are with the Football Association of Singapore Football Academy (FFA) Under-18 team, were nominated for the prestigious award last year. But Joel emerged from an eight-man field to win it.
A year on, Rezza's extra efforts have earned himself a second consecutive nomination, one that he had not expected.
"I told myself that I needed to work extra hard to be like Joel, so I did," the 18-year-old told The New Paper.
"I felt surprised but it's another chance to win, so I'm blessed."
Developing the various facets of his game meant pushing himself to do more both on and off the pitch.
The central midfielder included more gym sessions into his training routine and, on the field, worked on fixing his weaknesses like positioning and pacing.
To do so, he sought the help of his coach Takuya Inoue, who would review the video recordings of training and advise him on how he could improve.
Rezza said: "Last year, I always lost my positioning in games and it was hard for me to get back and help the team.
Rezza has a good sense of adaptivity, is good at finding space and has enough speed.FFA U-18 coach Takuya Inoue
"I also used to feel tired at the 75th-minute mark, so I trained myself mentally on what to do to pace myself throughout the game."
Inoue feels that Rezza has improved significantly especially in terms of delivering consistent performances.
Rezza shone at July's Asean Football Federation U-19 Championship and Inoue believes he has the potential to play at a higher level.
The 51-year-old said: "He was great against the other countries. He has a good sense of adaptivity, is good at finding space and has enough speed."
Rezza hopes to eventually take his football career to Europe and he knows that there is no easy route to attaining that dream.
But that does not daunt the Institute of Technical Education student, who said: "I always aim high so I can go further.
"Therefore I keep working hard every day."
He could experience football abroad through the TNP Dollah Kassim award, as the winner will get an overseas training stint with a reputable academy, courtesy of Singapore Pools.
Having his older brother, Haiqal Pashia, who plays for Singapore Premier League side Young Lions, in the sport is also another huge motivator for the teenager.
While it is only inevitable that comparisons have been drawn between the siblings, it is something that no longer fazes Rezza.
Their shared interest in football has created an environment that allows them to push each other to greater heights.
Rezza said: "I always look up to my brother and there's also a competitiveness between us, but I just keep hustling hard."
THE NEW PAPER DOLLAH KASSIM AWARD
Name: Rezza Rezky Ramadhani
Team: FFA Under-18
Position: Central midfielder
Date of birth: Nov 8, 2000
Favourite Team: Arsenal
Favourite Player: Andres Iniesta