2013 can be said to be a breakthrough year for Courts Young Lions striker Sahil Suhaimi, who has caught the eye of many local football supporters.
While he had made an appearance back in 2010 against now-defunct Etoile FC in 2010, this past S.League season was when Sahil started to play more regularly for the Young Lions.
His displays have led to the 21-year-old earning a call-up to the Singapore team and subsequently being capped, while he is almost certain to lead the line in next month's SEA Games for the Under-23 side.
Naturally, the sleek attacker was included in the Young Player of the Year category for the first-ever Goal Singapore Awards, but Sahil says he was surprised at the nomination.
"I didn't expect to get nominated for this award because as you can see, there are so many talented players such as Shahfiq Ghani, Faris Ramli, Shakir Hamzah, Delwinder Singh and Adam Swandi," he told Goal Singapore.
"But I am thankful to be one of the nominees because I have been working hard this year and will continue to work even harder next year."
Sahil, who has been described as "special" by his coach Aide Iskandar, was even more surprised when told he is currently leading the polls with 39% of the votes.
"Seriously?!" he exclaimed. "I have not been keeping track of the voting because I am now busy with training... as you know, we are preparing for the SEA Games in Myanmar."
Although Sahil only scored once each in the league and League Cup, he is pleased with his progress in a season where training and playing time was limited by National Service commitments.
"I am very happy with the way things are right now and I want to continue to work hard and win something [this year]," he said.
Sahil, who scored for the U23s against Hougang United in a warm-up friendly last Tuesday, is expected to be in action again when they take on the Philippines U23 in a charity match on Sunday at Hougang Stadium.
The Young Player of the Year award is part of the 2013 Goal Singapore Football awards, the first annual-inclusive football awards in Singapore where the best in Singapore football talents are recognised for their contributions and achievements of this past year.
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