S.League Player to Watch: Week 17

ESPNSTAR.com picks Courts Young Lions defender Al-Qaasimy Rahman as our Great Eastern-YEO's S.League Player to Watch for this week.

No way past the Young Lions defender!

Young Lions are back in S.League action on Thursday when they take on Harimau Muda at the Jalan Besar Stadium, following a prolonged absence due to Singapore's participation in the AFC U-22 Asian Cup qualifiers in Indonesia.

Despite ultimately failing to qualify for the competition after losing 2-0 to the Indonesians in their final match, the campaign went relatively well for Mike Wong's side as they picked up wins against Timor Leste and Macau, and even held continental heavyweights Australia to a 0-0 draw.

A large portion of the Singapore squad that travelled to Indonesia was made up of Young Lions players, and not many were more impressive than Al-Qaasimy, who seemed to thrive in his new leadership role after being named captain by Wong.

While the 20-year-old is naturally a centre-back, the emergence of Sheikh Abdul Hadi and Sirina Camara has seen Young Lions coach Robin Chitrakar shift Al-Qaasimy to left-back, a position he has excelled in thanks to his uncompromising nature and tremendous work rate.

The National Football Academy graduate can often be seen supporting Sherif El-Masri when the team are on the attack, but never shirks his defensive duties and is tough to beat in a one-on-one situation.

Should Harimau coach Ong Kim Swee keep his faith in the players he fielded in last Friday's 2-0 win over Tanjong Pagar United, Al-Qaasimy is likely to come up against the pacy Syahrul Azwari, who tore Zahid Ahmad to shreds at the Queenstown Stadium in his last game.

Given the way the Malaysian outfit like to play the ball down the flanks, the Young Lions defender is likely to have a busy night at the Jalan Besar Stadium but should he be able to win his one-on-one battle against his opposite number, half the battle will have been won.

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