|By Khalis Rifhan
Local football fans, and family and friends of former Singapore Under-16 captain Adam Swandi gathered at Changi Airport on Sunday night to send the young starlet off to France.
Adam will be joining FC Metz's Under-19 side after agreeing to a two year contract with the French outfit and continuing his studies there.
Speaking to the media before bidding farewell to his family and well-wishers, Adam looked calm despite admitting that he was feeling anxious for the trip.
“I am feeling quite nervous but at the same time excited because not every teenager gets this chance; I got it through hard work and determination but it is not easy for me to achieve this,” Adam said.
“Maybe I feel a bit pressured because almost everyone knows about this and they are expecting me to do well. I hope I can do well and bring Singapore football to a whole new level.”
Adam’s father Swandi Kitto, a former Lion in the 1980’s, was delighted that his son had the opportunity of a lifetime to play with a European team.
“I am happy for him and hopefully he can succeed as a footballer," the former national striker said.
"I am just excited for him. He had shown interest in football since young, even before he was in primary one.
“When he was in Spain, I was surprised he can play against the locals there who were about 19 years old. But that is maybe because he got my genes!"
With Adam having previously attended several training attachments with European clubs, including brief stays at Newcastle United and Chelsea in England, and Atletico Madrid of Spain, he felt that the difference in climate between Singapore and Europe is not much of a concern to him.
“Since I have been to Europe before, this does not matter because I trained and played in -16 degrees," he said confidently.
"It does not make a difference because once you start warming-up and play, it feels the same.
“The biggest challenge for me is to get into the first team as most of them are European and I am Asian, so it’s a bit hard. But football wise, even though we are a bit behind them, in matter of time, we can definitely catch up with them.”
While it’s a new beginning in Adam’s football journey, the young starlet has set his sights to don the Lions jersey in future.
“I am really hoping to get to play for the national team as that is the ultimate goal, the pride of every footballer," he added.
"I also hope to play for Metz's first team in future or any other European club.”
Although Adam’s mind is on France and his new team at the moment, he knows that he has to return to Singapore in a few years’ time and do his part in serving National Service.
“Actually I am fine with coming back and doing it as every Singaporean has to go through it," he said matter-of-factly.