When size doesn't matter

Just as a clinical striker needs only one chance to score, Geylang coach V Kanan needed only one look at Amy Recha Pristifana Samion before deciding if he was good enough.

In 2010, Kanan paid a visit to an Under-18 match between Geylang and Home United, looking for potential players to join his prime league squad the following year.

He didn't have to stay and watch the match for very long.

After catching little Amy in action for just one half, he knew he had a striker for the club's future.

"I only needed that one game to size him up," said Kanan, who was in charge of Geylang's prime league team at the time, until he took over the senior team this year.

"He has speed, good finishing and an eye for goal, which is hard to find in Singapore. He scored two goals in that game. And it was his first game for the U-18s."

Last year, Amy notched 12 goals for the prime league outfit, who finished as league champions. This year, as soon as Kanan took over the reigns from previous head coach Mike Wong, Amy was the first player he drafted into the senior side.

It's a meteoric rise for the 20-year-old, whom many in the past have dismissed as "too small" to be good enough up front.

"I got rejected by so many clubs when I was 16 and 17. They all said I was too small," said Amy, who stands at 1.69m and weighs just 60kg.

"But I still kept on going, until coach Brian Bothwell (former Geylang player) selected me for the U-18s.

"My size isn't a problem for me. I just tell myself to never be scared of the opponents and and to play smart."

Playing to his strengths and without fear has worked for Amy, who is of Indonesian heritage and was born in Batam.

Though he has yet to start a match for the Eagles this year, he has already struck once - the equaliser in a 2-2 draw against SAFFC - after coming off the bench.

But as important as that goal was, he cites his first goal for the senior team last year as his best footballing moment so far.

It came during a 3-1 defeat by Balestier at the Toa Payoh Stadium.

On as a substitute for the last 20 minutes, Amy cut in from the right flank, beat two players for pace before blasting the ball into the net from just inside the box.

"I was so shocked (to have scored), I didn't even celebrate. I just shook my teammates' hands and walked away," recalled Amy.

The nippy striker also remembers his worst moment in football just as clearly.

He said: "It was when I played for the Singapore selection against Kuwait U-23 last year.

"I was very nervous. I played only 10 or 15 minutes, but I did very badly. I showed no composure at all.

"I'm still trying to forget that experience."

Neither experience would have taken place in Amy's young career if not for Kanan.

Amy had received his enlistment date for national service in May last year, but the Geylang coach helped him gain admission to Temasek Polytechnic (TP), thereby deferring his call-up.

Said Kanan: "He applied to TP, but didn't get in. So I called an old friend of mine who helped him with his second application.

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