Goal-scorer Khairul Anwar celebrates with team [Photo by Sport Singapore / Action Images via Reuters]
Team Singapore kicked off the ASEAN Para Games (APG) with a convincing 1-0 win in a Cerebral Palsy (CP) Football match against Indonesia on Thursday as they made a strong showing against the APG debutants.
The hosts dominated throughout the game but despite registering numerous attempts at goal, they were denied by in-form Indonesian goalkeeper Amin Rosyid.
It wasn’t until the final minutes that APG Team Singapore CP Football captain Khairul Anwar broke the deadlock with a stunning effort from outside the box.
Overwhelmed with emotion, Khairul simply knelt down and celebrated.
While he has participated and scored in the previous APG, scoring his first goal in front of a roaring home crowd was an experience that left him at a loss for words
“I don’t know how to describe how I felt at that point of time. It just happened and I just went to the ground and celebrated. It was fantastic,” he said.
“I didn’t know what to do next. I couldn’t run anymore. I just kneeled down.”
Khairul and his team endured a largely frustrating match, but a tenacity born from years of hard work and training helped them push through.
“From the training ground itself, the coach and the players have put in so much effort in terms of training,” he said. “It was really frustrating for the first half, but it pays off. We keep on trying and we keep on pushing ourselves.”
“The coach who has been with us for some time, kept on emphasising: ‘Come on guys, try again, keep on trying. You are going to be there’.”
“And it’s there.”
The 29-year-old had come close to scoring on numerous occasions, particularly threatening from outside the box and in dead ball situations.
His performance today earned him high praise from Indonesian coach Fadilah Umar but Khairul is keeping himself grounded and attributed the win to a team effort.
“It is not a one man thing. It is teamwork so everyone deserves credit, and not just the goal I scored. Taufik came in and he passed me the ball,” he said.
“So it is not just me that made things happen. It was the whole squad that made it happen.”
Playing on home ground and scoring in front of raucous fans has always been a dream of his and today it came true with the extra special bonus of his family being present to witness his moment of glory.
“My mum and dad were there so I got a chance to meet and hug them,” he said. “It was very special.
“I have been playing this game for I don't know how long, but this is the first time they actually watched me play football so it’s really special.”