By Gabriel TanFollow @@gabetan13
But 12 months on, the 21-year-old is on the brink of claiming a Malaysia Super League winner's medal with LIONSXII.
The equation is simple for the Singaporean outfit: beat FELDA United on Tuesday in front of a sell-out crowd at the Jalan Besar Stadium and the title is theirs, regardless of how closest challengers Selangor and Darul Takzim fare in their respective games against T-Team and Negri Sembilan.
Doing that would be quite a remarkable achievement for the LIONSXII considering 2013 is only their second year back in Malaysian football, especially so given only five of V. Sundramoorthy's charges are over the age of 23.
However, it is easy to see how it would be even more special for Shahfiq given where he was in his career this time last year; struggling to force his way into the Young Lions starting XI through no fault of his own.
Despite being widely regarded as one of the most talented players of his generation, the skilful forward's progress in 2012 was severely hampered by his mandatory National Service (NS) commitments, making it extremely difficult for then-coach Robin Chitrakar to throw him straight into the Cubs line-up given his lack of training and match preparation.
Still, when the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) decided that the LIONSXII would predominantly be made up of under-23 players for this season, with the exception of five overage members, Shahfiq's talent alone made it impossible to overlook him.
Since then, Sundramoorthy's faith in the youngster has been rewarded with a string of sparkling performances and although he only has four goals to his name so far, no one can deny how important a role he has played should the LIONSXII be crowned this season's Super League champions, whether it be on Tuesday or at the weekend in their final game away to Kelantan.
Having had to bide his time at the start of the campaign, Shahfiq announced his arrival back in March when he netted the only goal of the game to hand his side a 1-0 win over defending champions Kelantan.
A month later in a game against ATM, who were then regarded as the LIONSXII's likeliest challengers for the title, he netted an excellent brace to guide them to a 3-1 win at the Jalan Besar Stadium.
And just last Tuesday, with Perak on track to deliver a telling blow to the Singaporean side's title chances, the 21-year-old stepped up and fired home a brilliant 35-yard freekick to earn them a 1-1 draw in Ipoh.
But rather than focus on his own development over the past six months, Shahfiq preferred to look at how much the LIONSXII have achieved as a team as they prepare to overcome one final hurdle on Tuesday evening.
"Of course, I'm happy with what I've achieved so far as this is only my first season with the LIONSXII," he told FOX Sports.
"We must not forget that last year, in our first season back in Malaysian football, the team finished runners-up in the league. It was a great way for a Singaporean team to return to the Malaysia Super League.
"But this year we're mostly made up of under-23 players. If we can win the league, it would be a really big achievement.
"Like the coach said, we only have one hand one the trophy as we're still not sure about tomorrow's [Tuesday's] result. But I can see all the players are ready for the game and we're prepared to give it our all.
"It's a home game and we want to keep our unbeaten record [at the Jalan Besar Stadium] so I'm hoping tomorrow [Tuesday] will be our big day together."
Apart from Shahfiq, 2013 has seen the LIONSXII unearth a number of gems that look set to be the future of Singapore, including Faris Ramli, Hafiz Abu Sujad, Faritz Hameed and Nazrul Nazari, who were all part of the Young Lions setup last term.
Nonetheless, it is safe to say that all they have achieved this season would not have been possible without the five overage players that were handpicked by Sundramoorthy to lead and nurture his youthful side.
Captain Shahril Ishak, centre-back Baihakki Khaizan and defensive midfielder Isa Halim have been amongst the best players in the competition, while Fazrul Nawaz and Irwan Shah have both been reliable when called upon to do a role.
But having at times been asked to fulfil the difficult role of a lone striker, Shahfiq was quick to hail the influence two of his seniors in particular have had on him.
"It's not easy being a striker because that particular position is usually reserved for experienced players," he explained. "Moreover, I'm one of the youngest in the team.
"But it's good that I've had players like Shahril Ishak and Fazrul Nawaz guiding me along the way and sharing their experiences with me.
"Playing alongside them has helped me become a better player."
Plenty of credit also has to go Sundramoorthy for the way he has led his young side to the brink of Super League glory, and his young protégé admits the ex-Singapore international has played a huge role in instilling belief in the LIONSXII camp.
"We started from nothing at the start of this year," Shahfiq added.
"We didn't know if we could challenge for top honours because we're an inexperienced team with only five senior players.
"But after a few games, the coach started telling us that he believed we could do something in this league.
"We've been producing good results and now we're top of the table; one game away from the trophy."
Considering what is at stake in Tuesday's clash, Sundramoorthy is expected to field his strongest possible starting XI and that could see Shahfiq have to settle for a place on the bench.
But given his knack for scoring important goals, one would not bet against him coming on and netting yet another decisive strike.
Only this time, it could be the one that sends the Super League title across the Causeway to Singapore after a 19-year wait.
Image courtesy of FAS (Shao Jie)