Adam Swandi became the first Singaporean to win a local domestic title in more than two years on Saturday but his thoughts immediately shifted to the next Albirex Niigata (S) training session.
When Shuhei Hoshino finished off a superb move in the dying seconds of the 2018 Great Eastern Community Shield to give Albirex Niigata (S) a 2-1 win over Tampines Rovers at the National Stadium on Saturday, a sense of familiarity flooded the stadium grounds.
It was the White Swans’ 12th title in Singapore football, a streak that has lasted more than two years where they swept everything available in the local football scene.
But this Community Shield victory was made even sweeter by the emergence of a Singapore face on the podium in 22-year-old midfielder Adam Swandi who became the first Singaporeans to sign for the reigning champions earlier this year along with goalkeeper Shahul Rayyan.
The former FC Metz youngster came on for his competitive debut in place of Ryujiro Yamanaka in the 52nd minute and got straight into the action as he won the penalty that gave Albirex the initial lead seven minutes later.
Great way to kick off the 2018 Great Eastern-Hyundai Singapore Premier League with the Community Shield on Saturday. All the goals, celebrations and fanfare rolled into one!
Posted by FOX SPORTS Asia on Saturday, 31 March 2018
Despite a debut to remember, Adam’s thoughts are already on Sunday’s recovery session, a sign of how well he has settled into the White Swans’ mantra of staying humble and focusing on playing their own brand of football.
“It definitely feels good to make my competitive debut for Albirex and contribute to retaining the Community Shield,” Adam told FOX Sports Asia.
“It’s a really good start for the team as we go into the new season but like what Coach said, this game is over and I am looking to the next training session to continue the hard work for a long season ahead.
“Training was really hard and tiring initially but thankfully I have adapted to the team with the help of my teammates and coaches at the club.
“It also helps that the style of football is something I really like and I’m enjoying every single minute of it.”
While he may still be learning his craft and adapting to Albirex’s style of play under Head Coach Kazuaki Yoshinaga, the Singapore international has already seen how his new teammates go onto the pitch with a winning mentality and hopes to learn from them.
Debutants Taku Morinaga and Hoshino showed glimpses of a promising front duo probably stemming from their playing days at Ryutsu Keizai University, a traditional giant in Japanese University football.
New captain Wataru Murofushi who hails from the same university as 2017 S.League topscorer Tsubasa Sano had the usual dynamism of previous Albirex midfield generals and was seen rallying the troops after Fahrudin Mustafic equalised for Tampines.
“They have the mindset of becoming champions even though there are mostly new players at the club,” Adam added.
“We all have this quiet desire to retain the titles but that is just a target. Most important thing is to work my socks off in training and leave everything else aside. I am starting from scratch here and it is up to me to prove my capabilities and show I can do my part for the team.”
Adam and his teammates will have nine days to fine tune their tactics before they go into their second Singapore Premier League game of the season against Balestier Khalsa FC at the Toa Payoh Stadium on April 8.
Photo credit: Albirex Niigata (S) Facebook