Hougang United starlet Farhan Zulkifli determined to bounce back from disappointing 2020

After missing out on a nomination for the Singapore Premier League Young Player of the Year, the diminutive winger is already looking forward to better himself for the 2021 season.

Phoon Jia Hui

Jack of all trades, master of drinking boba milk tea.

Published: 11 December 2020, 12:04 PM

By his own admission, 2020 hasn’t been the best of years for Hougang United winger Farhan Zulkifli. 

The 18-year-old was expected to build on a promising 2019 season – in which he earned a call-up to the Singapore national team and scored a memorable goal on his debut. At 16 years and 231 days, he became the SPL’s second-youngest ever scorer then.

16 years and 231 days - Farhan Zulkifli became the league's second-youngest ever scorer with his debut goal for Hougang...

Posted by AIA Singapore Premier League on Saturday, June 29, 2019

This season, Farhan played in 12 matches and only had a solitary goal to his name. 

However, he is gearing up to make amends in 2021, with the aim of helping his club back into continental competitions. The Cheetahs came in sixth in the SPL standings this season, five points off Geylang International who qualified as the second-best local team alongside the Lion City Sailors.  

As a result, they missed out on qualification for the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup. 

“2020 might not have been the best of years especially with the (COVID-19) pandemic, but it has made me realise many things,” reflected Farhan. 

“We have to be grateful that we have a chance to play football and not take things for granted especially in times like this. I am happy with the amount of playing time that I got although it wasn’t easy with the fatigue setting in, but it only served to make me a stronger person.” 

“I just tell myself that I want to play in every match as if it is my last because you never know what might happen.”  

Farhan also missed out on a nomination for the 2020 SPL Young Player of the Year award. But he explained he “wasn’t affected” by that. Instead, it has only served to push him on.  

“I was more concerned on how I can perform better in 2021,” he shared.

“Having rewatched the games I’ve played in, I’ve realised that I could have done better in terms of decision-making and be more of a team player. I hope to keep improving and reach my fullest potential.”

Beyond that, Farhan is also hoping to be more consistent in his game. He also has set a goal for himself to work towards. 

“My main target for next year will be making the SEA Games 2021 squad,” declared Farhan. 

“Of course, every footballer has that dream to don the national team jersey too. Earning the call-up is definitely not easy but that’s also something that I’m working towards and I’ll work hard for it.”

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