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Dutchman Khalid Hamdaoui Recovers Lost Time in S.League

Graduated from world renowned Ajax Youth Academy and mesmerizing the crowd with his trickery footwork in top European and Asian leagues. He also represented famous Oranje futsal at the International level, nearly display his Total

Graduated from world renowned Ajax Youth Academy and mesmerizing the crowd with his trickery footwork in top European and Asian leagues. He also represented famous Oranje futsal at the International level, nearly display his Total Football magic in Euro 2004, and was described as a “Lost Talent” by former Bayern Munich & current VfL Wolfsburg’s coach, Andries Jonker! Junpiter Futbol introducing the man who caught Singapore’s S.League by storm this season, Khalid Hamdaoui!

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European Football

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JPF: You were discovered at the young age of 8  by Dutch legendary striker Johan Cruyff to join Ajax Amsterdam, are you able to to share with us more in detail?

KH: It was a national school youth football championship played in the city’s Dam Square. Although my team lost in the final, I managed to impress the scouts at the competition. After receiving my medal from Johan Cruyff, he told Ajax to recruit me into the Academy.

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JPF: Was it a huge disappointment to you for not being able to represent Netherlands NT after having represented Netherlands in all youth levels and also represented Netherlands National Futsal Team?

KH: Definitely I am disappointed. Every footballer wants to represent their country and play at the highest level. I am no different. However, in life sometimes we make the wrong choice. I left Europe at the age of 18  to play in Japan’s J.League and that caused me my chance as typically, the coach would pay more attention to top leagues in Europe to shortlist his players.

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JPF: You were part of the Netherlands’ provisional squad for Euro 2004; in your own opinion, what do you think was the reason your name was not in the final squad?

KH: Honestly speaking,  I was probably  shortlisted to make up the numbers. The top 18 players in the team all played for top teams in the Champions League while I was not. I would not be surprised that the coach  had already selected his players even before that provisional squad name list was announced. Nonetheless, it was a great experience for me as I was subsequently called up to the first team on a couple more occasions.

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JPF: Is it true that you nearly sign for Bayern Munich during your career?

KH: It was just a training opportunity, not an offer. One of my football mentors and also  good friend, coach Andries Jonker, was the assistant coach at Bayern Munich then. He is a very friendly and welcoming person that he actually invited me over to train with them. However I did not go eventually as I was playing at Raja Casablanca and was injured at that time.

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JPF: Who were some of the elegant players you ever played with?

KH: During my time with Ajax Amsterdam, there was this Portuguese player by the name of Dani (Daniel da Cruz Carvalho) who was very talented.  I thought he played elegantly.  I have also played against Japan’s Shunsuke Nakamura in the Scottish league. Both of us share this same technique of controlling the ball with the soles. Shunsuke was an amazing player as well.

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S.League Football

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JPF: How much do you know about S.League prior to your arrival here?

KH: Well, I actually knew nothing about Singapore football then. However, I knew Fandi Ahmad as he used to play in Netherlands in the earlier days, and also through one of my best friends and mentor, Mr. Bambang, I started to know a little of Singapore football day by day.

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JPF: You are one of the most consistent foreign players in this S.League season so far, especially after an amazing debut with 1 goal and an assist in the opening game, what do you have to say for such an impressive start?

KH: Obviously, I am happy with the way I started the season considering the fact that I  had actually stopped playing football for 2 years!  I am not anywhere near my 100% yet but I am working hard to give my club and Singapore football my best performance!

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JPF: Were you disappointed that you were not classified as a S.League marquee player?

KH: To be honest, I was definitely a little disappointed as there is a big difference to the payroll of a marquee player compared to a normal foreign player status. But for the love of football, I will still play as passionately and do my best professionally on the pitch.

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JPF: In your own opinion, how can the S.League improve further?

KH: There are a number of factors.  Firstly, the facility has to improve.  This means the football pitch has to be better maintained to be more playable condition as all the teams train and play on the same pitches week in week out. Next, it is the youth development. Singapore will have to pay more attention to the youth development here. They have to give the young players what they need to know about football, the skills, dietary requirements, football ethics and the right attitude to move up the rank anytime. Singapore is a prosperous and developing country, it needs to strive to make the sport the best in this region.

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Individual Football

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JPF: If we are to look at your mobile phone contact list now, who are some of the famous footballers names that we can find?

KH: Haha… A.C. Milan’s Nigel de Jong, RKC Waalwijk’ Nourdin Bouhkari, Streetking’s Edward Van Gils and etc!

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JPF: We understand that some of your siblings are currently active in the football scene too?

KH: Yes, other than my dad, the rest of my other 6 siblings, , including my younger sister all play football! My elder brothers played good football but they stopped early under my dad’s influence and now  lead corporate working life. My 26 years old younger sister played good football too.  The only active ones now are just myself,  and two of my younger brothers. Mohamad Hamdaoui who is 18 is a striker for Vitesse in Netherlands’ Eredivisie and  Ismael Hamdaoui, 23,  also popularly known as Issy Hitman in the world futsal scene with Streetkings, plays professionally in Europe futsal leagues. Issy also represented Netherlands National futsal team too.

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JPF: If you are to retire from football, what do you want your fans to remember you for ?

KH: When I was playing in Europe, people remembered me as a skilful player who always did panna in the game. But now, I think I want people to remember me simply as a good team player.

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JPF: If you are to thank somebody for your football achievement or what you have today, who would that person be?

KH: There are too many people whom I’m going to thank for my return to professional football. (JPF: tell us the names?) I am going to thank Bambang, Kadjairi Jadin, Rudy Kadjairi, Jun Tan, Saif Al Hameli, Tim & Mary Fei, Evan Yeo, Jorg Steinebrunner, Andy Dixon, Andries Jonker, the boys in Rawdhat FC, my family and especially my wife, Naouel Haddouch. These people helped me a lot especially those bad days when I first arrived in Singapore. Thank you so much for the love and support!

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JPF: Your vision and passing techniques are  among the best in the league now, please share with our readers how they can enhance their football vision and passing techniques too.

KH: You have to improve your quick decision making, play more position football, play more street football or futsal to improve your ball feel, that’s what I have been training for years with Ajax and in Europe!  Constant training and learning experience will help with improvement.

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