Life for 22-year-old Rafiqin Muhd Bin Ramli has always been full of ups and downs. "It’s always a rollercoaster ride," he quipped. Despite being an avid fan of football from a very young age, Rafiqin’s learning difficulty had meant that he could not train as a footballer in primary school. "I had to attend remedial lessons due to my dyslexia, which often clashed with CCA trainings. I knew then I was football’s number 1 fan. But I didn’t know if I was a good footballer," he added.
After his PSLE, Rafiqin enrolled in Northlight School. There, Rafiqin’s strong desire to train as a footballer led him to join his school’s football team and upon learning of SportCares’ Saturday Night Lights (SNL) football sessions, he made the switch to play in the programme instead. As a 14-year-old boy in SNL, Rafiqin frequently got involved in skirmishes with his teammates on the field. "I wasn’t able to control my temper, especially when I feel if my friends were making fun of me or weren’t simply listening to my opinions that could help us play better as a team." At the same time, he disliked his coach’s scolding and constant reminders for him to behave like a disciplined sportsman. He reminisced how he and his teammates would be asked on many occasions to run extra laps when they were caught fighting.
His coach’s tough love did not sit well with him then, but on hindsight, he realised that these values helped to direct him towards the better future that he wanted. Rafiqin candidly likened his team to family, and his football coaches to parents. “They (football coaches) used to be my GPS, guiding me onto the right path. And now I have my own GPS because of them.” Football, with its many opportunities and experiences, has kept Rafiqin grounded, given him a sense of direction, and the drive to achieve his goals. "Without football, honestly, I would probably be off slacking somewhere. I wouldn’t also be as determined to overcome my learning difficulty."
Rafiqin’s love for football and his never-say-die attitude has proven infectious. He is now a budding community sports coach with SportCares’ Community Futsal Programme, working alongside children from low-income families. "I’ve learnt so much from my football coaches – it only feels right that I give back to the community by passing on what I’ve learnt, so I can be a GPS for others."
"Absolutely not enough financial support. Which parent should have to pay over US$1 million out of their own pocket to help their kid succeed?" - Joseph Schooling, Olympic Games Rio 2016 Gold medallist, told TODAY.
With One Team Singapore Fund, every dollar that you donate into this fund will be matched by the Government up to $50 million over the next five years (2017-2022). You can play an important role to help groom our next generation of Team Singapore athletes for success at the Continental, World and Olympic levels.
Let’s hear from Mr. Tan, who is a One Team Singapore Fund donor.
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