IMPACT 0416: THE ART OF BALANCING BETWEEN NATIONAL SERVICE, SCHOOL AND FOOTBALL
Hi! My name is Mukundan Maran and I’m a 23-year-old goalkeeper for Hougang United. Before signing with the club earlier this year, I spent two years away from football as I enlisted for National Service (NS).
While NS is a dreadful thing for many athletes in Singapore, as it means losing out on two years of sports development, I thoroughly enjoyed my NS years and had no regrets on my decision to join the Naval Diving Unit (NDU) – even if it meant that I was not able to train and play football for two years.
During my time away from football, I was able to pick up valuable leadership skills and become a more disciplined person due to the 38-week long period in the Officer Cadet School (OCS). We had to go through a vigorous Officer Cadet Course (OCC) in which we were put through exercises to train our resilience and adaptability to make decisions under intense pressure.
There was definitely some catching up to do when I returned to professional football, since my only exposure to the sport while serving NS was the occasional weekend futsal kickabout sessions with my friends. With the help of my coach, I quickly got up to speed and believe that I am now even better than I was in 2018. Once I knew I was going to join Hougang United, I trained every weekend for some basic ball work to get my body back into the groove of things.
Just like any other footballer, I aspire to be in the national team one day. I want to keep improving until the day I deserve the number one spot at both club and international level.
I aim to work towards my dreams while juggling my academics at the same time, and have enrolled in the Bachelor of Business course at Nanyang Technological University (NTU). I’ve always placed a huge emphasis on studies, so I will make sure that I excel in it while also ensuring that I achieve my dreams in football.