Monday, November 22, 2010

100 Goals Award: Mohd Noor Ali - The ever smiling joker of the pack

Recapturing S.League everpresent Mohd Noor Ali's 15 year stint in our local league which cumulated in his 100 goal achievement in 2010.

Geylang United: 2000-2004
Champion in 2001

Geylang United: 2008-2009

Champion: RHB Singapore Cup 2009

Two S-League titles & 1 Singapore Cup with SAFFC (2005-2007)

Winner of Tiger Cup 1998

We often hear that a hardworking man will be bound to get his due reward. On S-League Awards Night 2010, a man who has given almost all his playing career to the S-League since its inception - Mohd Noor Ali, finally got his dues.

“It is always a dream for a player to come to Awards Night and receive an award. It is something that I have been looking forward to and it is nice to get it exactly at the age right now”, he beamed.

Then in his usual tongue-in-cheek style, he added, “I definitely can’t wait another 14 years to score another 100 goals right?”

Despite a paltry return of just three goals this season in all competition, the evergreen attacker was helped by his work in his earlier years as he became the tenth player to join an exclusive club of names who have notched 100 goals in the local game.

Noor Ali started out as a raw winger on the roster of Tampines Rovers when the league was formed in 1996. Impressive performances in the following seasons for the Stags earned him his international break which hit a high when he was part of the Tiger Cup winning squad of 1998. In 2000, eastern giants Geylang United came calling and along with his best friend Azhar Baksin, Noor Ali made the switch to Bedok.

A year later, with the Eagles under the tutelage of Malaysian Cup stalwart Jang Jung, Noor Ali clinched his first S-League medal as Geylang finally broke the stranglehold of the uniformed groups that year.

It proved to be his only piece of silverware at club level before his SAFFC stint between 2005-2007. Along the way, he also suffered a low when he was suspended for the entire 2003 season due to breaking of the players’ conduct rulebooks.

However, the man came back hungrier and with a point to prove, he raised his performances as he captained SAFFC to two more titles and a Singapore Cup trophy. Noor Ali then spent his next two seasons back at Bedok where he clinched another RHB Singapore Cup in 2009 before heading north to Woodlands for this recently concluded campaign.

Revisiting his goalscoring exploits in the earlier seasons, the man was adamant that it was his first stint with the Eagles which ultimately led him to this award.

“The best period for me was during my time at Geylang. That was the time where I scored a lot of goals, between 2000 and 2004”, Noor Ali said.

Over the years, we have seen less of his aggressive nature on the field that was common in his younger days. Perhaps married life and the captain’s armband has calmed him down more. Nowadays, Noor Ali is always seen as an easy going personality, the joker among the pack.

“I am always happy wherever I go, even at Woodlands now”, he quipped.

“After I came from my suspension up till now, I have keep on been winning things. I really have to thank all my family who have been supporting me”. Indeed family is always a word the man has on his mouth in recent years when the media reflects on his good performances.

As to upcoming plans for him, Noor Ali said, “Actually I can retire now, but I don’t intend to, as long as I can pass my Beep test”.

Unable to curb his itch for a dig at his good friend who stepped into the media zone, he exclaimed, “If Aleksander Duric can play till forty with his i/c (identification certification) change, I will try to play on!”

“But if there was an award for 600 misses, Aleks would have won it by now. He should have won the top scorer award if not for that”, Noor Ali chuckled.

“He is one player that we always look forward for motivation. It is an honour for me to go up on the same stage as him.”

Upcoming plans

On a more serious note, Noor Ali expressed his desire to continue in the game after his eventual retirement.

“I am doing my ‘A’ licence in March. But not too fast as I still want to enjoy the S-League.”

At the moment, he is keeping his options open to new offers and indicated that a player-assistant coach role would also suite him fine as it would be a good opportunity to learn the management side of the game.

“I am happy when I see the younger ones coming up and do well. I hope to pass on my knowledge and experience to the younger ones”.

National team

When quizzed whether his had regrets about not making more appearances for the national team, Noor Ali replied confidently, “I have no regrets in whatever I do. I quit the national team in 2005, I am happy that they are doing well and winning things. At that time, there were also a lot of young players coming in, which was a fantastic thing.”

“I have done my part for national team. I have played in the SEA Games, played and won the Tiger Cup. So right now it is time for me to pass down all my knowledge.”

Expect to see more of this wily veteran attacker for a couple of more years to come. With players sorting out their contracts in the coming weeks, would anyone dare to rule out a return to Tampines for a final Noor Ali-Duric combo in the 2011 season?

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