The ex-S.League player is now a freelance coach after hanging up his boots four years ago
SINGAPORE, 12 JULY 2018 – As the first ever Singapore Pools – Football Association of Singapore (FAS) Inter-School Futsal Challenge (ISFC) kicked off last Tuesday, 3 July, a familiar face was spotted.
On the side-lines of the indoor courts at Our Tampines Hub, former S.League player Asraf Rashid could be seen encouraging his Yew Tee Primary School players as they played their first match in the Under-10 category of the tournament.
Afterward, the affable 33-year-old told the FAS website that it was the first time that the majority of the Yew Tee players were experiencing futsal.
“These boys are from the junior boys’ team that plays in the nine-a-side tournament (at Zonal and National level) and they are used to playing on the field, so this is different,” he said.
“What surprised them was the first time they kicked the futsal ball, which is smaller in size and does not bounce as much as a normal ball.”
Asraf added that despite the boys’ limited experience, he felt that it was worthwhile to give the IFSC a try as “football is football” and it was a good opportunity for them to know the sport of futsal.
The ex-Tanjong Pagar United FC winger believes that the ISFC, which saw 44 participating schools in the U-10 category that will run until 18 July, is a good initiative.
“For me, this is a good step because it can build up the players on the courts and not just on the fields,” Asraf said.
“My players, who train three times a week, play football at the void deck when they don’t have training. That helps them to develop too; in other parts of the world like Brazil and South America, they also start playing on the streets and futsal.
“So I think this is good exposure for them as budding players. If they (FAS) wants to grow (the ISFC), I think they can start by expanding at primary school levels and then secondary school level in future.”
Forced into early retirement when Tanjong Pagar withdrew from the league (now the Great Eastern-Singapore Premier League) in 2015 due to financial problems, Asraf took up coaching courses and has been a freelance football coach since then.
He has coached Yew Tee for three years now, while he also has gigs at Regent Secondary, Northland Primary and St. Michael’s Soccer Association. While Asraf still misses lacing up his boots, he is also enjoying his coaching experience.
“I do play social football just to keep my passion going, apart from coaching,” he said. “Honestly, football is in my blood. I tried to forget about football at that time when Tanjong Pagar pulled out and I was a bit depressed because all this while, I just played football and never worked outside.
“So now, it is about giving back and I am happy to coach with the schools, and most of them are local boys. That is my intention, to help the local boys; what knowledge and experience I have, I just share it with them.”
You can read more about the Singapore Pools – FAS ISFC here. The U-10 finals will be played on 18 July at OTH, while the U-14 category kicks off in August. Three SPL players have also been named as Values Ambassadors, which you can find out more about here.