For The Record...
"In an interview with Yahoo! Singapore, Zainudin (Nordin, FAS President) reiterated that the S-league will not become a "poorer cousin" once the LionsXII start their Malaysia Cup campaign."

Monday, December 03, 2012

Lionel:“Time to Move On...”

Lionel in action for Home Utd in AFC Cup
Apparently the stone has cast for Home United goalkeeper Lionel Lewis to call it a day from professional football, despite earlier media reports suggested that he might carry on if the ankle surgery he is undergoing soon would be a success.

In an email interview with this blog, the 30 year-old explained this latest development that caught a few off-guard, especially many perceive a goalkeeper's lifespan on the field would stretch beyond 35 like one of his Lions predecessors, David Lee, who retired in 1997 at the age of 39.

“Many people tell me goalkeepers peak from 30 onwards. For me, the minute you are a professional player, you have to always be at your peak.” opined Lionel.

“I actually plan to start playing part-time a few years back. I always believe having a stable job is very important. A footballer’s career is a short one. I wanted to start building my career after football years ago.” he added

A close-up of one of Lionel's actions in between the posts
At the meantime, Lionel did not deny the injuries he sustained throughout these years weighted into this decision.

“Injuries are part and parcel of contact sport. I am thankful, I did not get more serious ones. I have to say in a way or another, my injuries did play a part in my planning two to three years ago.” he revealed.

Having equipped himself with a degree in Sports Management from University of Wolverhampton (which he completed in 2008), the father of two young children is all ready to embark to a new chapter in his career path by taking up a post at Nanyang Polytechnic's (NYP) Student Affairs Department next year.

"The Commander in the Air" - Lionel defused a threat in box
Showing his appreciation to his alma mater for giving him the platform to his impending career switch, the 2004 Tiger Cup MVP winner said:“I am very thankful to NYP for giving me the opportunity to start my career and I want to build my career after football from there.”

“There are definitely many challenges for me ahead but I am ready to learn. I believe in life if you stop learning, that will be the end of your life.

"Thankfully for me I am still in the same field which is sports so to adapt would not be so difficult.”

Lionel's last appearance for the country - vs China in Nov 2011
Looking back to his glittering career that started out as a 13 year-old trainee with Geylang United under former Lions assistant coach Robert Lim, Lionel singled out the 2004 Tiger Cup win as his most memorable moment.

Said the 73-capped player:“Winning the 2004 Tiger Cup in our own turf at the National Stadium is the most memorable for me because that kick starts my footballing career.

“Although I would say all my other achievements gave me different memories and satisfaction, and I always believe winning as a team is the most important in football.”

"Fisted over for sfety" as Lionel kept things calm at back
Despite swapping the gloves and boots for an office environment, the 1.88m shot-stopper is not going to cut his ties with the game just yet, as Lionel shares that he is keen to go into coaching as a goalkeeping coach to groom the next generation of custodians upon stabilizing his new career.

“Football has always been in my blood and it has given me everything. I want to give back to the sport in future and to be a goalkeeper coach would be ideal.” he said.

When asked what advice would he offer to his fellow players, should they decide on their post-football career planning.

“Start planning early because a sporting career does not last forever. It is better to have back up plans for the future.” advised Lionel.

With that, we would like to wish Lionel Lewis all the best to his new career and thanks for all those wonderful moments on the field he brought to the fans.

FACT FILE of LIONEL LEWIS
  • Full Name: Lionel Lewis
  • Position: Goalkeeper
  • Clubs: Geylang United (2001-2002), Young Lions (2003-2005), Home United (2005-2012)
  • Caps: 73 (last against China in November 2011)
  • Team Honours: S.League Champions (2001 with Geylang United), Singapore Cup winner (2005, 2011 with Home United), Tiger Cup winner (2004 with Singapore National Team), AFF Championship winner (2007 with Singapore National Team)
  • Personal Honours: Tiger Cup MVP (2004)

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