Albirex want another look at Adam

He's won over many fans with his stepovers and silky skills on the pitch.

Now it seems rising star Adam Swandi, 16, has also caught the attention of coaches abroad, as he packs his bags for a month-long training stint at the academy of Japanese side Albirex Niigata.

He leaves on Friday for his second stint at the J-League club, following a 10-day attachment in March, when he impressed the youth coaches.

Albirex's Under-18 coach Nobuhiro Ueno was reportedly impressed by Adam's control and one-touch passing, saying it was better than some of the players at the club's academy.

Now, they want to have a closer look at the winner of last year's TNP-Dollah Kassim Award.

Adam, who told The New Paper in an interview last March that his ambition was to play in South Korea or Japan, is thrilled that the J-League club have shown renewed interest in him.

"I'm excited of course," he said yesterday.

"With this trip, I feel like I'm getting closer to my target of playing in the J-League."

Impression

Last March's trip lasted only 10 days, so Adam is hoping to use the month-long stint to develop his game further and make a bigger impression on the Japanese coaches.

He was one of six Singapore Sports School (SSP) students - the others were Muhaimin Suhaimi, Hazim Faiz Hassan (both 17), Amirul Azmi (16), Zharfan Rohaizad and Andin Djayady (both 15) - who travelled to Japan on March 9 for the initial training stint.

Adam said: "Looking back, that trip wasn't too long, and we didn't really have time to adapt to the conditions there.

"But, even then, I already learnt that you always have to give everything you've got in training sessions... that's how the players there do it."

He has travelled to places like Vientiane and Pyongyang in the past year, playing tournaments with the national Under-15 team, but this coming trip will be his longest abroad.

He said: "To be honest, I am feeling quite nervous, but I think it'll be okay.

"Even though the longest I've been overseas is just 17 days, I don't think I'll be homesick because I'll be occupied with the football there."

After his trip to Japan, Adam is set to go on attachments at two European clubs in the near future.

As the winner of last year's TNP-Dollah Kassim Award, he also earned himself the Passport to Excellence which will see him go on a training stint at a top European club later this year.

He also emerged as the Singapore Under-16's Most Valuable Player at the Lion City Cup last June, an accolade which saw him earn a training stint at Ajax Amsterdam in Holland.

The date of the stint - funded by Canon - is still being arranged, pending agreement between Ajax and the Football Association of Singapore.

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