Veenod has no regrets
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.