Hafiz Sujad and Emmeric Ong on local football, the COPA 19 and more.
Pre-season is a thankless task with tough shuttle drills, hard running and intense exercises. Luckily for Emmeric Ong of Warriors FC and Hafiz Sujad of Hougang United, they took a break from their training to join us at the adidas “Creators Only” event to have a chat on their season ahead and more.
BOOTHYPE: How has pre-season been for you guys?
Emmerick: Like last season, we have the yoyo test which is a relatively new introduction. We’ve also gone to Malaysia to play some friendlies to get our tactics right and we had some team bonding sessions as well.
Hafiz: I’ve had some extra training to build up my shoulder, post op. It’s about getting back into shape. Hougang is bringing in a few new players so we’re getting to know them and of course, running more.
BOOTHYPE: What’s this “yoyo test” we keep hearing about?
Emmeric: It’s similar to the beep test where we have shuttle runs. They do give 10s recovery in between every shuttle unlike the beep test which has non-stop shuttling.
BOOTHYPE: What kind of drills can aspiring footballers do at home to improve their skills?
Hafiz: For me, it’s juggling. You can start young and juggling helps improve your technical ability – a major aspect of the game. You can do it at home or before training. Start trying to hit 10 reps, then move up to 20 and so on.
Emmeric: One thing I noticed while coaching at youth level is their poor psychomotor skills. I think they need to work on their balance and coordination. Ladder drills are helpful to get their movements and footwork improved. They have the idea in their heads on how to play but their bodies don’t always follow through.
BOOTHYPE: While sports in Singapore isn’t as big as it should be, what would you say to kids who aspire to take up a career in football?
Hafiz: It’s about discipline and hard work. You shouldn’t give up on what you dream of.
Emmeric: Growing up and playing football in Singapore is different from what you see on TV with the EPL – especially with the money and number of fans who watch. The reality is different but if you work hard for it, you will get what you aim for.
BOOTHYPE: Both of you are wearing the adidas COPA 19 for the season. How has it felt on feet so far?
Hafiz: I’m old school. I used to wear the old COPA (Mundial) and I have wide feet. The current K-leather on the COPA 19 fits me well unlike many modern boots which are too narrow.
Emmeric: I used to wear the Predator which has a different material and feel. They were nice but I always like leather on my boots so the COPA takes them to a different level. It feels like a second skin so you feel the ball with every pass and touch.
BOOTHYPE: Has there been a classic boot you always wanted?
Emmeric: The Nike T90s were really popular when I was growing up. But now that I’m older, I appreciate that looks isn’t everything. The feeling of the boots is more important now. I’m happy with the current COPA.
Hafiz: I’ve always liked the old leather boots like the COPA (Mundial) and the Puma King because it’s really soft.
BOOTHYPE: Do you feel that, with the adidas COPA 19, adidas is making leather fashionable again?
Emmeric: I think so. The leather on this COPA really feels different from other leather boots and it’s also getting a lot of face time on the pitch around the world.
BOOTHYPE: Any footballing inspirations?
Emmeric: Growing up, I supported Liverpool and watched the likes of Michael Owen and Steven Gerrard. They are people who put their heart and soul into the game and are not just there for a paycheck.
Hafiz: Yeah I’m a Liverpool fan and Michael Owen was especially big for me. He was small but a breakout star. And of course, Steven Gerrard.
BOOTHYPE: Any favourite Liverpool shirts in your collection?
Emmeric: I have one of the older kits with the Carlsberg sponsor on it. It was one of the first gifts my father bought for me.
Hafiz: I went to Anfield last season for a Champions League game and I bought last season’s jersey. It means a lot to me.
BOOTHYPE: You guys think Liverpool will win something this season?
Emmeric and Hafiz: We hope so!
A big thank you to the good people of adidas Singapore for inviting us to the “Creators Only” event showcasing the new Exhibit Pack. For more photos of the event where we played some 5v5 with Emmeric and Hafiz, scroll on down below. All photos taken by adidas Singapore.