Balestier’s upset 2013 League Cup Winners: Where are they now?
From a half-cleared free kick, Kim needed no second invitation to lash home a stunning full volley that left Wardun Yussof rooted to the spot in that final.
It was a moment that epitomised the brilliance of the South Korean forward, who joined the Tigers under recommendation from Park and had three prolific years with the club.
He was, however, shown the exit door after scoring in the 2014 Singapore Cup final and returned to his homeland as well.
No longer playing professional football, the 25-year-old is now working in a role similar to Park’s and is related to ‘screen baseball’ — for which machines are developed to throw different pitches like fastballs, curves and changeups to simulate game-like conditions.
Nicknamed “Chubby Qiu” for his less-than-perfect physique, the Shenyang-born forward more than made up for that with his technique and vision in the attacking third.
It proved to be a real coup for Balestier to snag a player of his quality, as he scored 12 league goals in the 2013 season to inspire the Tigers to a fourth-place finish.
The naturalised Singapore international would return to Home United after just a year and played there for a season before deciding to hang up his boots, due to the introduction of a controversial age-restriction rule which was later rescinded.
The 35-year-old is now an assistant coach cum translator with a third-tier club in native Shenyang.
Coming on as a 14th-minute substitute for Ruhaizad, Zulkiffli spent five productive seasons with the Tigers as a prolific winger and featured in the 2015 and 2016 AFC Cup campaigns.
However, his S.League career was mired and ended by controversy. In 2012, he was found guilty of making derogatory racial remarks against Woodlands Wellington’s Trinidadian defender Fabien Lewis – receiving a ban of five games and a suspended fine of S$1,000.
Last season, he committed the same offence against assistant referee Y Sathyakumar in August, with the club suspending him without pay from September onwards and banning him from their last five games of the season.
With the club releasing him thereafter, the 31-year-old joined NFL Division One side Yishun Sentek Mariners and now plays alongside former S.League boys like Nur Ridho Jafri, Nur Na’iim Ishak and Firman Hanif.