Work Hard, Play Hard: Duncan Elias, the footballer turned familiar face

Former Hougang United, Woodlands Wellington and Geylang International defender Duncan Elias speaks to FourFourTwo about his switch from playing to presenting the Beautiful Game on television...

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At last year’s Battle of the Masters, Duncan Elias was running through his usual preparations before interviewing the big names on show.

But it was a familiar face who left him star-struck.

I was stunned and it was all so surreal...I was really stoked to have him recognise my work

- Duncan Elias

Greeting Elias by his first name, sportscaster John Dykes 'stunned' the former S.League defender.

“He knew my name! It was the first time that I’d ever met him and he told me that I was doing a good job reporting on local football,” Elias recalls to FourFourTwo.

“I was stunned and it was all so surreal. Someone I looked up to for so long saying that to me. I was really stoked to have him recognise my work.”

But to have been able receive this sort of commendation from as someone highly respected and regarded in the field as Dykes, was all down to a bold choice Elias made close to four years ago.

Elias (center) in action in Brunei Photo: Supplied/Nitin Nambiar

After finishing the season with Geylang in 2014, the 33-year-old waited and waited – but the club did not extend his contract.

“The reason why I stopped playing is because I didn’t get offered a contract. I was with Geylang and when the season ended, and they couldn’t take me in. So, I made my peace,” said Elias.

Sasi advised me that football is a short term career and that I should try a hand in radio since I had a communications background

- Duncan Elias

He would eventually call every single club in the S.League, looking for opportunities. But with no concrete offers on the table, Elias, who had a degree in Communications from University of Newcastle, chose to move on.

“My first job (in media) was with Sasi’s (R.Sasikumar) Red Card Radio,” Elias shared.

“He (Sasi) was also an (football) agent trying to get me a club in Singapore or overseas but when I went to speak with him, he advised that football is a short term career and that I should try a hand in radio since I had a communications background.”

After joining Red Card, Elias had another tough decision to make.

Weaver had contacted Elias with a view of the latter signing for Warriors

“I got a call from Alex Weaver to join Warriors but I was already with Red Card. I just felt more stable there that I wouldn’t have to worry about the future,” Elias noted.

“But the funny thing is, they (Warriors) became S.League Champions. It really was bittersweet because I could have won the title with them.”

During his career, Duncan also turned out for Woodlands Wellington and Hougang United. However, he did not win any major titles.

“The only medal I had was finishing third place in the League Cup in 2010. I am happy with how things ended up but it is bittersweet knowing that I could have also been a S.League champion,” he added.