|By Khalis Rifhan
Once described as a promising young central defender after he made his S.League debut with the now-defunct Sembawang Rangers, Shariff Abdul Samat has since been in the news for the wrong reasons more often than not.
His temperament both on and off the field has led to the media having a field day reporting on numerous incidents in the past, but the son of former Singapore international Samat Allapitchay is determined to make things right with new club Woodlands Wellington FC.
“I was so grateful that they still remembered me. They called me like one-and-a-half weeks ago and I did not think twice about the offer. Fans can look forward to a new, strong and determined Shariff,” he declared.
Shariff certainly had every reason to be happy with the offer from the Rams, as he was on the verge of missing out on playing in the S.League for the second year running after he rejected an offer from his previous club.
“I got an offer from Tampines Rovers since November but when I called them in early December, Hougang United also told me that they really wanted me,” he explained.
“But at [the] last minute, I rejected Hougang and after that Tampines did not want me. After that, I carried on with my life and work and [then] I got a call from Woodlands.
“I can’t describe the feeling to be back in the S.League. I am over the moon and [I] look forward to the new season.”
Although the club has consistently finished at the wrong end of the table in the previous three editions, Shariff feels that it is not out of their reach to achieve the top-three finish targeted by coach Salim Moin.
“Nothing is impossible," he defiantly said, citing the example of his former club.
"You ever see a lower team that did well in the season? One good example is Hougang. No one believed in us as we always finished near the bottom years ago.
“But we did well, finishing the league in mid-table and reaching the League Cup final, so why not Woodlands?”
Fans who are keen to watch their beloved Rams in action can do so on February 5 as they will face Singtel Cosmo League champions, SCC Firsts at the Woodlands Stadium, with the friendly scheduled to kick-off at 7.30p.m.