Khairul Anwar in action [Photo by Sport Singapore / Action Images via Reuters]
Amid the heartbreak of losing to reigning champions Myanmar 5-3 on Saturday, Team Singapore Cerebral Palsy (CP) Football captain Khairul Anwar became the first Singaporean footballer to net a hat-trick in the Sports Hub.
But like a natural born captain and team leader, he shrugged off his personal success, saying that what mattered for him was the larger team effort.
“Whatever it is, three goals or four goals, whatever I scored, for me the number one is my team,” the 29-year-old said.
“The coaches, players and everyone are involved. Without them, I couldn’t do it.”
Khairul’s coach Mohamed Zainudeen was also full of praise for his veteran defender who scored three stunners from outside the box - two from the halfway line.
“Khairul is a special player. We all know that,” he said. “He’s got a good shot, very good technique. Comparing to the whole team, he has got the best technique.”
“So for him to do 30, 40 metre passes, shooting at goal from the set pieces, we worked a lot on it.”
The match started in electrifying fashion with three goals within the first five minutes.
By the 45th minute, however, Myanmar has extended their lead to 5-1. All had seemed lost for the home side but the players continued to give their best and the Singapore fans did the same.
Hat trick hero Khairul Anwar with young fan [Photo by Sport Singapore / Action Images via Reuters]
Some four thousand fans turned up to watch the match, and they cheered with as much effort and intensity as the Singaporean footballers played.
Every tackle, every defensive clearance and every save was roundly applauded and cheered by the hugely enthusiastic crowd.
For Khairul, the support of the fans makes a big difference to the game and he said he was grateful for the support received so far.
“It helps everyone, especially the players on the pitch,” he said. “For the next coming match, I hope there will be more and more Singapore fans coming down to give us more support.”
“We really, really appreciated it and we really need it. It gives us the extra push to perform for the country.”
Singapore will next play Thailand tomorrow at 12.30 pm. Despite the back to back matches, Khairul and his team are going to forge ahead through the physical demands and potential tiredness.
“Whatever it is, we are going to keep on pushing. We don’t want to think about being tired,” he said.
“It doesn't appear in our dictionary. We play for the country and whatever it is, we are going to keep on going.”