Singapore youngster Saifullah Akbar will be hoping to become the first player from his country to play in Spain when he heads to Tenerife for a trial next week.
The 19-year-old was shortlisted by three Spanish clubs – C.D Tenerife, U.D Las Palmas and Girona FC – but eventually opted to go for trials with Tenerife from August 7 to 18.
Saifullah is one of Singapore’s emerging footballers along with Ikhsan Fandi and has already had been to Europe for a trial with FC Metz.
He was also offered a contract by A-League club Newcastle Jets at the age of 16, only to be restricted from signing a professional contract due to FIFA’s youth policy.
“I’ve always followed Spanish football, especially Barcelona where my favourite player Andres Iniesta plays. Spanish football has a certain passing style of play and it’ll be a great experience to see what I come away with,” Saifullah told FOX Sports Asia.
“Tenerife is a club with a lot of history and I’ll try to show what I can do when I join them next week. Of course, I have to thank LaLiga, Sports Traveller and the Football Association of Singapore for their support. Hopefully, I can do Singapore proud.”
The former Tampines Rovers youngster recently completed his National Service and has set his sights on earning a professional contract in Europe.
“It all started when my dad brought me to the National Stadium to watch Singapore play against the Brazil (Olympic) team. I saw Ronaldinho in action and told my dad I wanted to become a footballer like him.
“Of course being here in Singapore, I watched a lot of English Premier League football but the LaLiga is my favourite because of Barcelona and Iniesta. It’ll be fantastic if I can get a contract there and fulfill my dream of playing at the highest level.”
Saifullah will depart for Spain on Monday and the two-week trial may be further extended if he catches the eye of the coaches at the club.