By Eddie Ridzwan
It is often said that patience is a virtue, but how many people are willing to wait nine years to play for a football club they've supported since young? Meet Warriors FC defender Abdil Qaiyyim.
Having signed for the Warriors FC youth team at the age of 15 in 2004, Abdil finally made his debut for his boyhood club on February 21 this year against Woodlands Wellington in their first S.League game of the 2013 season; it ended 2-2.
Prior to this season, Abdil had made appearances for the Courts Young Lions and Home United (during his National Service days) in the S.League. He also spent one season with the LionsXII in the Malaysia Super League.
“I came back to the Warriors because I want to challenge for honours with the club," he revealed.
"I have been supporting this club since their days in Jurong Stadium and I have seen players winning titles and trophies with the club.
“That has been my motivation; to have my name etched in the club’s history books.”
The 23-year-old has gone through a lot in his footballing career so far. Unknown to many, the blonde-haired defender only made the defensive switch from a striker when he was plying his trade for the Under-16 team of Warriors FC.
Abdil also believes that the time spent with his previous clubs have moulded him as a player.
“I’ve played with various players and I’ve tried to learn as much as I can," he explained.
"I know someday I will have to lead and teach the younger players but for now, I’m still trying to learn. Eventually, I hope the experience can make me a better player and help the club progress.”
After citing Fandi Ahmad, Fazrul Nawaz, Hafiz Osman and Baihakki Khaizan as his idols, Abdil reflected on one of the best moments in his career so far.
“It was the semi-finals of last year’s Malaysia Cup against Anggota Tentera Malaysia [ATM]," he recalled. "Never have I played a match with so much at stake in front of a sellout crowd.
“It is every footballer’s dream to play in front of a huge crowd, be it your supporters or opposition's. It took a while for the fact that it was a real match to sink in.
"Bai [Baihakki Khaizan] was constantly communicating to me to make sure I stay focused, and I am thankful for that.”
The 1.83m-tall defender, who is affectionately known as ‘Dagu’ by his teammates, broke into a slight laugh as he recalled his nerves before his debut match for Warriors.
“To be honest, I wasn’t able to sleep the night before the match!" Abdil chuckled.
"I’ve been waiting for that moment since I was 15 - it has always been a childhood dream. This year has been good thus far. I signed my first professional S.League contract, I made my AFC Cup debut as well as my first start for Warriors FC.
"I hope the season will change and make my 2013 better.”
The friendly and affable Abdil assured Warriors fans that the side will turn the tide soon enough after a string of disappointing results.
“I hope the fans can be patient with us," he said.
"Admittedly the results have not been in our favour, but give us a little more time to gel and click in. When the time comes, I am sure the fans will be happy with what they see.”
The ardent FIFA gamer and Arsenal fan confidently shared with us his targets for the coming future, as the interview came to an end.
“Just like any other local footballer, my next aim is to break into the national team," Abdil declared.
"Apart from that, I really would like to challenge and win silverware with Warriors FC!”