“Singapore is my home and it’s a big part of my life. After my home town in Bosnia, this is the longest I’ve stayed in one place and I love every moment. I’m very proud to be part of Singapore,” said ActiveSG Football Academy principal and national footballing legend Aleksandar Duric.
Within the cosy confines of the Singapore Sports Institute, a Singaporean footballing legend gave a frank account of a life filled with laughter and tears to a rapt audience of 40 Team Singapore athletes, fans and friends.
Aleksandar Duric posing for a photo during the book signing and sharing session. Photo: Sport Singapore
Aleksandar Duric was there to talk about and autograph his biography “Beyond Borders”. The recently retired S-League stalwart took twelve months to distill 44 years of his life onto the pages of his biography.
For the Yugoslavian native, who was drafted into the Yugoslav People's Army at the tender age of 17, the Bosnian war had affected him and his family heavily.
His father and brother had both fought in the war, but the most unfortunate casualty was Duric's mother, who had died during the war when his village was bombed in 1993.
It was not an easy journey putting down such heartbreaking and poignant experiences into a book. Duric described nights filled with tears as he poured out his heart and soul to Glenn Wray, a longtime friend and co-writer of his memoirs.
Aleksandar Duric sharing his thoughts during the session at the Singapore Sports Institute. Photo: Sport Singapore
“At first we started talking at night. But the emotions, it made it difficult to sleep, as I kept thinking about the past. In the end we had to do it on weekend afternoons,” said the 45-year-old with a wry smile.
It was not all doom and gloom, however, as Duric described in detail his life growing up in a small town in Eastern Europe, the opportunity he was given to represent Bosnia in the Olympics as a canoeist, and his eventual transition into an accomplished footballer.