“No Singapore, No Qiu Li. I want to return and give back to the local game”

Former Singapore forward Qiu Li is hoping he will get an opportunity to give back to Singapore football, for what the sport has given him in life.

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The Shenyang-born Singaporean was one of few naturalised players during the last decade who made a mark for club and country. In fact, he was the last player under the Foreign Talent Scheme (FTS) to play for the Lions.

He won the AFF Suzuki Cup in 2012 as part of Radojko Avramovic’s lineup and was seen as an unpredictable and talented forward for the Lions, scoring four goals in 24 appearances.

In 2014, Qiu joined the elite 100-goal club of players who have scored a century in the S.League while he was playing for Home United.

The 37-year-old retired from the game abruptly in 2014 after the S.League introduced an age-restriction rule and with a lack of opportunities in Singapore, Qiu headed back to China to begin his coaching career.