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Liverpool legend Sami Hyppia impressed by young talents at COURTS Football academy

12:33 GMT+3 19/11/2017
Sami Hyppia at COURTS Megastore
The Champions League winner was left mesmerised by the skill of the talented young footballers at COURTS football academy...

Former Liverpool star Sami Hyppia was all praise for the talented youngsters in Singapore after interacting with some of them as part of the four-week-long celebrations commemorating the redesign of COURTS Megastore in Tampines. 

Hyppia made a special appearance at the COURTS-Liverpool Football Academy much to the delight of over 220 talented young aspiring footballers, from the top competitive teams in local Primary and Secondary Schools, ranging from 10-12 and 13-14 years old respectively. 

The Finnish defender also conducted a special training session for young girls’ teams aged between 8 to 11 years old from Cedar Primary School and the JSSL Elite Girls programme. Following which he met Liverpool fans at the COURTS Megastore for a 'meet-and-greet' event on Saturday. 

Speaking to Goal at the event, Hyppia shared his excitement at the chance to guide budding footballers. 

"I always enjoy playing with the kids, working with the kids. I was delighted to see the joy on the field and I saw some good performances there," he said. 

Hyppia was also left amazed by the skill and talent on display as well. "I must say I was a bit surprised how good the boys and girls were yesterday," he shared. "I was wondering when they are so good at this stage, why are they disappearing at the senior level in Singapore.

"There were many encouraging performances and skills yesterday. For me, I think the small boys have great technical abilities and I saw few of them understood the game pretty well. They displayed good possession-based game, tried to play with the ball and when they got the ball and used their feet to play further and score goals." 

The 44-year-old Champions League winner had a word of advice for the youngsters on how to make it to the top as a professional footballer. 

"I think it is up to you. If you want it bad enough, you have to sacrifice to get everything out of yourself and keep developing as a football player," he stressed. "You have to make the right choices. You need challenging environments.

"The coaches can help the kids to grow. But the coaches can’t do it for the kids. Everything should come from within. If you have that kind of mentality that every time you go to the football field you are willing to learn something new and willing to develop yourself then everyone has a chance."

The former Finnish international also had good things to say about Singapore, having visited the island nation once before in 2001 as a player. 

"I came here as a player before. We came in 2001. We played a game against Singapore XI. During that trip I saw the hotel and the training field and the stadiums. I think the city has developed since the last time I was here."

This year’s COURTS-Liverpool Football Academy is guided by three coaches from Liverpool Football Club International Academy who will conduct week-long coaching classes.