Do you think you know all there is to know about Izwan Mahbud? FFT spoke to Singapore's No.1 to learn some things that aren’t common knowledge – including a surprising revelation about his early training days.
Izwan Mahbud is back in the S.League, having signed a contract recently to join up with the star-studded Tampines Rovers line-up. Here are some things you probably didn't know about the budding superstar.
1. I’m a family man
I love my family a lot. Even though I occasionally quarrel with them, I love them a lot. They’ve supported me all the way through and without them, I'd be nowhere.
There are my parents, I have a brother and two sisters – an older one and another younger.
In terms of having my own family, my career is slowly going up right now, so I’m a bit scared that it will go down if I switch focus now.
But of course, I’d like to have my own family at some stage.
2. I used to play basketball and sepak takraw
With sepak takraw I wasn’t very good, but I was in the best three teams at school. I was playing both sepak takraw and football at one stage but ended up giving up the former to focus on football.
Basketball was more casual. I watch a lot of basketball, usually the NBA Finals.
The Finals series last year were great, Golden State winning against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Steph Curry is a great player.
3. I didn’t use to enjoy training!
I used to miss training sessions when I was about 15. At that time, I didn’t see football as a career. I was in the National Football Academy under coach Kadir Yahaya.
If there was one week of training, I would skip around four days. I’d play futsal instead in my neighbourhood. But I got in trouble. Kadir called my parents!
Straight after training my mother and father were waiting with Kadir and I just sat quietly.
I was taking a lot of Medical Certificates (to skip training). At that age I just wanted to be with my friends, so I’d call and say I couldn’t make training because of schoolwork.
It would happen often. It went on for about a year.
The team was already in place and familiar with each other. One day, I went in for a trial but didn’t have any friends and felt left out.
They (the other players) were talking to me, but I didn’t feel very close to them. I was very quiet.
After that incident, I made up my mind and chose to see football as a career and treat it with the right importance.
Photos: Weixiang Lim/FourFourTwo