Duric looking forward to facing Rush in swansong

Evergreen Singapore forward Aleksandar Duric will conclude his colourful football career when he laces up for the Singapore ex-internationals against the Liverpool legends on November 15.

The Tampines Rovers forward is set to take on a star-studded line-up at The Castlewood Group Liverpool Masters, including the likes of Patrik Berger, Vladimir Smicer, Steve McManaman and Ian Rush.

Duric felt there was no better way to celebrate this occasion than taking on some of was his childhood heroes.

“I’m really looking forward to playing against all these stars from Liverpool,” he told FourFourTwo.

“I played against them last year (for the IG Singapore Masters Cup) at the Indoor Stadium and I enjoyed it so much.

“This time round, there is Rush who’s my kind of hero when I was young. As a striker, you can’t get a better man to learn something from.

“I’ve read a lot of things about him and seen him on television, but never met him before.

“I hope I can play five to 10 minutes against him – that’ll be the highlight of my long footballing career.”

Apart from lining up against the Reds legend, Duric is also relishing the chance to pair up with local fan favourite Fandi Ahmad, whom he has never played with or against before, in attack.

“I never had a chance to play with him,” Duric said.  

“I dreamt of playing with him when I first came to Singapore back in 1999, but didn’t managed to because he was semi-retiring then.

“It’s definitely a privilege for me to share the pitch with all these guys like him, Sundram, [Lim] Tong Hai, Nazri [Nasir] and Steven [Tan].”

This game will also serve as a testimonial for Duric who will hang up his boots after a glittering 16-year S.League career which saw him pick up eight league titles, three Singapore Cup trophies and four top scorer awards, notching almost 400 goals in the process.

“It’ll be a sad day for me, for sure,” said the Bosnian-born Singaporean. 

“This is definitely my last season and I’m finishing off with this game. One chapter of my life will be gone and it opens up another which I will no longer be a football player.

“I’m really grateful to Singapore for giving me this opportunity, especially the people and the fans. I had a fantastic time here; I grew up not only as a player, but also as a man with a family of three kids.

“As a player, I always try to bring up the level of football here. That’s always my goal.

“Now that I’m finished, I hope that I can repay the faith and trust by helping to find the younger generation and new players who can step into my shoes.”

Bar any surprising developments, Duric is set to be part of the Tampines’ coaching staff for next season.

“I’ve already spoken to my boss Mr Teo (Teo Hock Seng) and he told I’ll definitely be part of the team for next year,” said the 44-year-old, who is currently completing his AFC “A” License course.

“I want to stay at Tampines; it’s like a big family there, having been in the gang for so long. I’ll definitely be around in Singapore football and I’m not going anywhere.”

The Castlewood Group Liverpool Masters will be held at Jalan Besar Stadium on November 15, 2014. Tickets start from $10 and are on sale at www.ticketbooth.com.sg.

Photo: Weixiang Lim/FourFourTwo