Midfield Maestro Mustafic Fahrudin Shares His Football Stories
Known for doing all the dirty jobs in the centre of the pitch and his excellent execution of penalty kick for both club and country, Junpiter Futbol caught up with Singapore’s Mustafic Fahrudin, at his
Known for doing all the dirty jobs in the centre of the pitch and his excellent execution of penalty kick for both club and country, Junpiter Futbol caught up with Singapore’s Mustafic Fahrudin, at his neighborhood. Farra, as he is popularly known as, shared with Junpiter Futbol on his life back in his native country, Yugoslavia, his life in Indonesia and his current life in Singapore!
JPF: How did you pick up futbol?
MF: Futbol was the number one sport in Yugoslavia. I grew up playing futbol on the streets with my friends. And when I reached 10 years old, I received proper training after joining my home town club. I came through the youth system and was promoted to the senior team. That started my futbol career.
JPF: You have been living in Singapore for nearly 10 years now. So how is that compared to your Yugoslavia’s time where you spent the earlier part of your life?
MF: Everything. Big different! Food, culture, weather.. I had no idea where was Singapore. Former Tampine Rovers’ Sead Muratovic assisted me with the bold move. I thought I have got nothing to lose so I took up the challenge to come to Singapore. That was my very first oversea move as a professional too.
JPF: What makes you decided to take up Singapore citizenship?
MF: I have got a great time playing at Tampines Rovers. We won the S-League Championship and the Singapore Cup. I have many good friends here in Singapore. And when I was offered Singapore citizenship to represent Singapore, I thought that was the best opportunity to play at the highest level. It’s every child’s dream to represent the country at the highest level of International futbol. So I took up the citizenship offer.
photo from zimbio.com
JPF: But do you think that you can represent Yugoslavia if you carry on playing futbol in the country?
MF: To be honest, it’s tough. Unless you are already selected to represent the country in the youth level like U-14, U-16, U-21… if not, you won’t make it through to the senior team. The level of futbol is high and there are too many good players.
JPF: Ever thought of returning to your birth country?
MF: Maybe, but definitely not playing. I want to finish my futbol career here in Singapore. Even after my playing days, I’d like to be involved in futbol-related job. My child is born here and my wife is happy here. We have no intention of going back but if there isn’t any job available for me after my futbol days, then maybe I will consider going back.
JPF: You do know sometimes fans still argued on the part that you, together with the likes of Shi Jiayi, Agu Casmir and etc are not real Singaporean, how do you feel?
MF: How long I have to stay here or play here to prove that I am a Singaporean? I wear red jersey. Be it Singapore NT or club, I give my maximum effort in every single game. I stay in HDB flat too! Singapore gives me everything, and I never feel a bit of foreigner. Sick and tired of taking about it. Always seems like I have to prove something but how long I have to prove? I’m near the end of my futbol career too, hahah! I’m used to it.
S-Leauge vs ISL
JPF: You were enjoying some of the best futbol moments in the S-League with Persija Jakarta and Persela Lamongan in ISL, but what made you decided to call it a day and return to S-League?
MF: The main problem was my family. My wife was about to give birth to my second baby and I was not able to spend quality time with her. (JPF: Why was that?) Because of the traveling. The traveling for home and away game was tedious. Their schedule pattern was playing 2 games at home and 2 game away. For such schedule, I could easily be away from my family for weeks. I am just doing traveling and playing.
Futbol wise, it was fantastic. Crowd of 20,000-30,000 turnout for every game, the people, club’s financial, everything was superb. You really felt like a professional player as the people there really appreciated your work. I really, really, really enjoyed myself a lot playing in ISL.
JPF: Was it true that ISL paid well?
MF: Yes, they really paid well. They had good bonus, financially I was very happy.
JPF: How difference was the S-League after your return?
MF: Actually the standard of S-League was still good. There were still couple of great clubs like SAF, Home Utd and Etoile, In fact, Tampines Rovers was top of the table when I returned and I was on the bench for my first few games, haha!
JPF: What are the differences between S-League and ISL?
MF: Their league was more physical than ours. When you played an away game, you would never had an easy game. You really felt that you were playing away. There was this “pride” where every player wanted to win! Compared to S-League, there were more “value” in a win there in Indonesia.
JPF: Seems like there is a mentality difference between Indonesian players and Singaporean players. Let’s put it this way, if today a Singaporean player is no more longer playing futbol, he knows that he can easily get another job away from futbol, but as Indonesia is big, that might not be possible for the Indonesian players; futbol is their rice bowl.
MF: It’s true… look at their top players in Indonesia, they all come from the poor villages. These lot of players really appreciate the money they earned. Some of them are earning more than a doctor in Indonesia! So these Indonesian players really fight hard to win. They believe if tomorrow they don’t perform well on the pitch, they don’t have a job.
And also, the futbol market there is big. Unlike Singapore, today you don’t play for this S-League club, by accepting a few hundreds dollars lesser, you might still get to join another S-League club. Most importantly, you still get a pay.
photo from english.sina.com
JPF: You are the first choice penalty kicker for both club and Singapore NT, how do you execute a good kick?
MF: Every time I put the ball down, I have already know where I’m going to shoot. I will calm myself down, concentrate and most importantly, must hit the ball properly. I never think of missing the kick. Of course you have to practise a lot. I practise about about 50 penalty kicks before every training session. No goalkeeper is required, I just focus on the spot where I want the ball to go, and strike it.
JPF: Together with one of JPF’s profiles, Isa Halim, you were there in Spain for an Adidas game with many big names, so how was the experience?
MF: I met Samir Nasir, Zinedine Zidane, Djibril Cisse, Emmanuel Adebayor, Jermain Defoe and many others. We all stayed in the same hotel. They were really nice in person. It was a fantastic experience!
JPF: Your team mate, Aleksandar Duric still playing at the age of 42, would you want to follow his footstep?
MF: He is not human! I don’t what he eats, what he drinks! I probably couldn’t walk at the age of 42, haha! His desire and will to play futbol at that age is simply unbelievable. He is just like a small kid who always want to run and play futbol! Apart from the physical side, that kind of desire and will to play futbol could be the reason why he is still playing some good futbol right now at this age.
JPF: Should you retire from the International scene, who do you think in our current futbol scene could replace you in the centre mid position?
MF: Hariss Harun. Sometimes, I forget that he is still a young boy. He has been with Singapore NT for so long. He is such a mature player who has grown so much with the team. I have absolutely no query about him filling the centre-mid position. And I have no doubt that he will do better than what I am doing right now.
JPF: Name your favorite player?
MF: Zinedine Zidane. I know we are totally different player but after I have played with him, you know how nice he is, how calm he is (in game), and I like him even more.
JPF: Best player ever played against or together?
MF: Zinedine Zidane!
JPF: Any futbol superstition before a game?
MF: Right foot onto the pitch first, followed by a prayer.
JPF: Any words of encouragement for Junpiter Futbol followers who want to be a professional futbol player like you?
MF: Every player should have a dream. Follow your dream and work hard. There is no short cut, be honest and more training. Training will give you everything.
JPF: Who do you think will win Euro 2012?