A virtual unknown just a year ago, not many would have tipped Suria Prakash to break into the national team in 2014. Nigel Chin profiles the up-and-coming Warriors FC starlet...
The 60 second story…
- Date of birth: Nov 30, 1992
- Place of birth: Singapore
- Position: Winger
- Club: Warriors FC (S.League)
- International: Singapore (2 caps, 0 goals)
Fleet-footed Suria Prakash started his career with the NFA U18 back in 2011, after getting scouted by Coach Mohd Akbar while representing ITE Simei in the Institute-Varsity-Polytechnic (IVP) games. Prior to that, Prakash had never turned out for a club at any youth level.
Balestier Khalsa came calling in 2012, and he impressed then head coach Darren Stewart enough to make his S.League debut.
A move to Warriors at the start of this year followed, and things have been looking up for Suria ever since. Still registered as a Prime League player, he has been training with the seniors instead and has also featured regularly in league action.
His performances have caught the eye of the National Selectors, and earlier this year, he made his debut for the National Team, not too bad for a 21-year-old.
Why you need to know him
Suria is a winger who is willing to take on his man, and he’s exactly the type of player that Singapore has been found lacking with. Not only that, he has bags of pace and dribbling skills to spare – great tools for a player who has the potential to be a key player for the Lions in years to come.
Faris Ramli is a fixture on the left for Singapore, but the right wing spot is very much up for grabs. With LionsXII's Gabriel Quak and Nazrul Nazari failing to impress for club and country this season, Suria has a chance to stake a claim ahead of next month's AFF Suzuki Cup title defence.
At just 21 years of age, the sky is the limit for the youngster if he continues developing at his current rate.
For a young player who had no professional coaching until he was 18, Suria’s ability on the ball and technique is what has caught the eye of coaches and fans alike. His nifty dribbling skills have had defenders on the back foot more often than not, and he has an eye for the goal as well – he is the second top scorer in the Prime League with 16 goals, although he has not opened his account at senior level.
As a predominantly right footed player comfortable strutting on either flank, his unpredictability is what makes him stand out. It is hard to read whether he’s going to take the ball to the byline, or cut inside with it, and with the speed he possesses, he is a fearsome opponent in one-on-one situations.
At this moment, Suria remains something of an individualist. Far too often, he has chosen to go all the way himself as opposed to setting up teammates who are in better positions. That is however, understandable given his young age, and is something that will improve with experience.
“[Teammates have] told me I have to release the ball sometimes rather than dribble, because my opponents will start to read my moves,” Suria told FFT back in September.
His crossing could use some work too, as does his physicality – he is getting bumped off the ball far too often by defenders when they get to him. However, bulking up too much might be a hindrance too if it slows him down, so a balance has to be struck.
“I don’t know if you can quantify potential, but Suria certainly is very good and has lots of it,” Warriors head coach Alex Weaver told FFT after Suria's call up to Singapore's training tour in Austria earlier this year.
“One thing Suria has done is that he has taken his chance and performed really really well this year, and he’s deserved it. The message here is that young players need to keep their heads down and work very hard - that’s what Suria has done.”
- Shooting 7
- Heading 5
- Passing 7
- Tackling 5
- Pace 8
- Dribbling 9
- Creativity 7
- Work-rate 7
Did you know?
Suria has been playing under the same Prime League coach for the past 3 years – Kevin Wee. It was Wee who saw Suria’s potential and brought him to Balestier Khalsa, before securing the winger for Warriors after making the switch himself.
What happens next?
Even if he doesn't make the year-end Suzuki Cup squad, next year's SEA Games in Singapore is a fantastic opportunity for the winger to showcase his potential as a star in the making.
However, the much dreaded National Service awaits too – it is up to Warriors and of course, the Football Association of Singapore, to find a way to continue developing the winger without being hindered by his SAF commitments.
Photos: Weixiang Lim/FourFourTwo