Adam Swandi mulls home comforts
As Singapore football’s sole recipient of the Singapore Olympic Foundation-Peter Lim Scholarship Under-18 High Performance category, Adam Swandi ought to have every reason to feel proud of his achievement.
However, the 18-year-old trainee at the FC Metz Academy has a major decision to make as he reaches the crossroads of a budding football career.
His present contract with the French north-eastern club has just concluded and competitive playing time with the team's youth sides has been limited during his two-year stint there.
While the Singapore international midfielder has been offered a contract extension, he hinted at a possible return to Singapore to fight for a place in the National Under-23 squad ahead of next year’s Southeast Asian (SEA) Games on home soil.
“I have a strong desire to be part of the 2015 SEA Games,” Adam told FourFourTwo on the sidelines of the award ceremony at the Institute of Technical Education College Central at Ang Mo Kio on Saturday morning.
“While Metz are offering me another year there, they have also told me after discussions that there is a high possibility that I am unable to join the Singapore Under-23 side should I decide to extend my stay in France.”
Adam's studies could be put on hold if he decides to ply his trade with S.League developmental outfit Courts Young Lions for the remainder of the 2014 season after his return from the combined National Team and Under-23 teams’ training camp in Austria at the end of the month.
Having just finished his first year of high school with Lycee Louis de Cormontaigne, the Metz Under-19 fringe player has two more academic years remaining before obtaining his high school diploma.
He also added that he was presently in discussions with his family and the Football Association of Singapore over his future.
“Currently I have the option of joining Young Lions, but I am not sure of my options immediately at this point of time,” the former Singapore Sports School player said.
“If I decide on coming back to Singapore, I will be fully focused on playing football.”
While his football focus is clear, his off-pitch future is still very much uncertain, apart an intention to clear his National Service (NS) after the SEA Games football tournament.
Unlike top local swimmer Joseph Schooling who has been granted deferment from enlistment until after the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, Singapore football’s lukewarm results at Asian and South-East Asian level means even the brightest local prospects in the sport will have answer their NS call ups.
Adam is unperturbed by the disruption though, stating that he is determined to clear his other national commitments and put his football career on hold for two years before he looks at another crack in Europe.
“In the end I am a Singaporean, proud to be serving my nation,” the midfielder said.
“I feel it is better for me to enlist early and then get my football back on track after the SEA Games and NS.”
Should Adam choose to return home after a two-year stint in France, the republic will only have one overseas-based youth player - 18-year-old Mahathir Azeman, who is currently plying his trade with Brazilian club Boavista Sports Club's reserve team.