By: Lim Wei Hao
Randy Pay, Singapore’s frontman for the Asean University Games (AUG), has experienced his fair share of ups and downs in his football journey.
Participating in what may well be his last AUG, Pay was despondent that his team could not overcome their Malaysian rivals as they lost 1-0 in their last group stage game.
“We have the potential to go far in this tournament. As you can see, luck is not on our side. We had so many chances and so many attacks, but the ball just did not want to go in,” lamented Pay.
In 2012, Pay was shortlisted as the top five footballers in Singapore as part of Nike ‘The Chance’ Singapore. However, he had to forgo the regional finals held in Jakarta, Indonesia, due to National Service commitments.
“Having the opportunity to work with V. Sundramoorthy and Aide Iskandar actually inspired me and reminded me of the passion I had to pursue a professional career,” said Pay.
Things started to look up from there. Pay was signed by Sundramoorthy to play for the now dissolved LionsXII in the Malaysian Super League in April 2013.
“Lions XII was a more professional set-up and we train everyday, and we are sharper in terms of our football and our gameplay we understand each other better,” said Pay.
Unfortunately for him, his experience with professional football ended abruptly. Pay decided to place his focus back on pursuing his degree.
“In my first year, I actually tried to handle both professional football and studies. I found that if you try to do both things at once, you will tend to struggle,” admitted Pay.
He continued playing football by representing National University of Singapore (NUS) at varsity level competitions, such as Institute-Varsity-Polytechnic (IVP) Games and Singapore University Games.
An NUS Sports Scholarship holder, Pay receives montary benefits as well as the opportunity to exercise flexiblity in terms of planning his modules and classes.
The final-year student welcomes the level of support that NUS has provided, declaring that it is a “step in the right direction”. However, Pay is calling for even more support for student athletes like himself, across all universities.
Singapore now have to wait on the result of the Malaysia versus Cambodia match in order to confirm their qualification for the semi-finals.