It is not every day a Singaporean gets to be chosen by a modern football legend for an All-Star Selection showcase.
Step forward Sim Yi Long, who had a phenomenal Saturday in the final leg of the 2014 Tiger Street Football series. The young defender got the nod from tournament ambassador and ex-Porto, Barcelona and Chelsea playmaker Deco after he helped local side Touch N Go reach the last four.
He was one of the final two players to complete the Deco Selection squad that would take on the former Portuguese internationals in the showpiece exhibition later that evening.
Speaking to FourFourTwo post-tournament, he recalled his elation at being selected.
“I am really happy because Deco selected me, and it was really a good experience to face the former Portgual internationals,” the Touch N Go player beamed.
Showing the same steel and determination to win as he did with his local side, Sim more than held his own in defence against Deco, Vitor Baia, Paulo Ferreira, Maniche and Nuno Gomes even as the veterans strutted their stuff in front of a packed arena at the Riverside Walk.
He repaid the tournament ambassador’s endorsement of his abilities with a stunning goal from distance that left former Porto and Barcelona goalkeeper Baia with no chance in the final moments of the game to close the gap to 8-7.
Sim could not hide his delight at his display against the retired world-class professionals.
“It was really magical to be sharing the same pitch as them as I could see first-hand their movement and abilities,” he said.
“It was really great to be at least performing and scoring in front of our home fans.”
Sim hoped his personal showing could help push Touch N Go to greater heights as they fell just short in the final stages after reaching the semi-finals of the series.
“Overall, our whole tournament was not bad and we tried our best. We will look forward to next year and do even better."comments