Veenod has no re­grets

New Straits Times - - Sport -

MID­FIELDER S. Veenod is a late bloomer as he only started tak­ing foot­ball se­ri­ously when he turned 17.

Be­fore turn­ing to foot­ball, the 28year-old was one of the most feared marathon run­ners in Pe­nang. He also rep­re­sented his school and dis­trict in the 3,000m steeplechase and 5,000m.

“I did play some foot­ball be­fore I took the sport se­ri­ously. I owe it to coaches S. Veloo and S. Sun­dram for iden­ti­fy­ing my tal­ent and also ab­sorb­ing me into the Pe­nang-based Bin­tang Biru Academy,” Veenod told Time­s­port yes­ter­day.

Veenod first rep­re­sented Pe­nang in the Youth Un­der-19 Cup be­fore get­ting pro­moted to the Pres­i­dent’s Cup squad.

He got a huge break in 2008 when was se­lected for the state team and later played for the now-de­funct Univer­siti Sains Malaysia (USM) FC in 2011, fol­lowed by his present club, Se­lan­gor.

As far as foot­ball is con­cerned, his ex­pe­ri­ence as a marathon run­ner has helped him in terms of en­durance and work rate in matches.

“I am quite tall and I was a nat­u­rally good run­ner. I chose foot­ball over marathon when I was 17 as I felt I had a good fu­ture in it. I do not re­gret my de­ci­sion as I am now in the na­tional team,” said Veenod, who earned his two caps with the na­tional team as a sub­sti­tute in the re­cent friendly matches against Sin­ga­pore and Pa­pua New Guinea.

“I started off as a striker in my early days with Pe­nang be­fore Ir­fan (Bakti, for­mer coach) tried me out as a de­fen­sive mid­fielder when USM loaned me to Se­lan­gor for the Malaysia Cup in 2012.”

Be­ing a late bloomer has not stopped Veenod from achiev­ing great things in the sport. Many would not make it far but he works hard by putting ad­di­tional hours af­ter train­ing to pol­ish his skills.

“I also eat healthy and make sure I am asleep by 10am daily for at least nine hours. I prob­a­bly lack some skills as I started foot­ball late but I try to close the gap by work­ing harder in train­ing,” said Veenod, a Malaysia Cup medal win­ner in 2015.

Veenod knows he may not be a sure starter in the AFF Cup but he hopes to get a chance to play in some matches. He, along with Shahrul Saad, are among the de­fen­sive mid­field­ers in the team.

“It is up to the coaches to give me a break here and I will do my best if I am handed a chance,” said Veenod, whose late sis­ter Eswary had been a mo­ti­va­tion to him to progress in the sport.

Eswary was killed in a hit-an­drun ac­ci­dent on Feb 14.

was al­ready an ac­com­plished ath­lete be­fore play­ing foot­ball se­ri­ously.

S. Veenod

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