Fazli Ayob aiming to put career back on track with Balestier
Fazli was part of a talented National Football Academy (NFA) batch which included the likes of current Singapore internationals Izwan Mahbud, Hariss Harun, Hafiz Sujad and Izzdin Shafiq.
Hopefully this will finally be the year where I can prove that I can still do it
Yet while his comrades went on to scale great heights, such as Izwan attracting interest from Japan and Thailand and Hariss raking in big bucks with Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT), 25-year-old Fazli’s career did not take off in the same manner.
After playing a bit-part role for the LionsXII in their maiden season in 2012 and spending a season with Young Lions in 2013, Fazli moved to Home United the following year where he constantly found himself on the sidelines once again.
Two fruitless years followed, prompting him to contemplate retiring from the game before Balestier came calling.
“Actually I wanted to stop playing football and start thinking for my future,” he revealed to FourFourTwo. “Things have not been going well for me and I have to feed my family; I have a six-month-old son.
“I was planning to go to the civil service industry; either the AES (Airport Emergency Service) or SOC (Special Operations Command), but (Balestier) coach Marko (Kraljevic) called me and I thought why not give it a try at this club.”
“He’s a very good coach, with good player management and plays a nice style of football. That’s very important for me.”
While acknowledging that it will be hard to emulate the achievements of his NFA teammates, Fazli is nonetheless determined to make his own mark and prove that he is still worthy of a professional contract.
“I don’t care where I stand and I don’t want to make comparisons,” said the 25-year-old, who was also part of the 2009 SEA Games team that clinched bronze and the 2012 AFF Suzuki Cup-winning squad.
“For me, it’s more important to prove to the coaches about my ability on the pitch and perform whenever I get the chance to play.
“I will try my best to give 100 per cent on and off the pitch and also gel with my new teammates fast. It’s important that we know each other’s characteristics and playing style.
“Hopefully after so many years, this will finally be the year where I can prove myself to the rest that I can still do it.”
Fazli is also happy to be reunited with good friends Fadhil Noh and Syafiq Zainal, both of whom he played with in their younger days, as he targets a successful year with the Tigers.
“I know Fadhil, because we played together at the SEA Games in 2009 and also Syafiq who was together in the Young Lions with me.
“Finally now we have a chance to play together again.
“My target this year is to win a Cup because I’ve have been on the losing side in the Singapore Cup final for the last two seasons.”
Photo courtesy of Balestier Khalsa FC