Singapore youngster Saifullah Akbar heading to Spain for trial with Tenerife

Kelvin Leong Kelvin Leong

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.