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 By Kelvin Leong

Singapore star Izwan Mahbud's freezing introduction to Japan

Singapore goalkeeper Izwan Mahbud's one-week trial at Matsumoto Yamaga FC got off to a cold start with more than 60 fans turning up at his first training to catch the LionsXII star in action.

Having gained overnight stardom as the 'Singapore Spiderman' who singlehandedly repelled 18 shots to force a goalless draw against Singapore in an AFC World Cup qualifier earlier this year, the 25-year-old is in Japan trying to earn a playing contract with second-tier side Matsumoto Yamaga.

His first training session under the guidance of goalkeeper coach Honma Tasutaka and Yamaga head coach Yasuharu Sorimachi, was a tough one as he had to battle unknown surroundings along with a 13 degrees Celsius wind.

Day 2 - Finally done with my first training! Here's a little clip of me sharing with you some thoughts on my first training ever with Yamaga FC. Matsumoto Yamaga FC's head coach, Mr. Yasuharu Sorimachi, who was observing the training today was very kind to drop me some very encouraging words:"Izwan has a very positive attitude and as a goalkeeper, he did his best in adjusting and overcoming the language barrier when it comes to communicating on field. I noticed that he also has good agility and his level of skills is comparable with the rest of Yamaga FC goal keepers."I can't be more motivated than now and I hope you'll continue to give me your support. Remember to stay tuned for more exclusive Yamaga FC adventures! - Izwan Mahbud

Posted by Epson on Wednesday, 2 December 2015

"Today's training was very physical," said Izwan. "It was very cold, it was hard for me to breathe. I have to adapt as fast as I can to this weather.

"Today was a good day, but it was also the first day of training and I'm still adapting to the climate and I hope to perform better over the next few days.

"The coaches, players and goalkeepers have been talking to me and they are very welcoming. Hopefully, I'll gain something out of this week here at Matsumoto Yamaga.

"Even though I have been here for just a short while, I can see that Matsumoto Yamaga are a good club who take good care of their players.

"They are very professional in every aspect of their preparation for training and have very well-equipped training facilities at the Karigane Football Centre."

If Izwan secures a contract with Yamaga FC, he will be the first Singaporean to play in Japan. (Photo credit: EPSON)

Coach Sorimachi, who has been keeping a close tab on Izwan, made a brief assessment of the keeper's start after training concluded.

"Izwan has a very positive attitude and as a goalkeeper, he did his best in adjusting and overcoming the language barrier when it comes to communicating on field. I noticed that he also has good agility and his level of skills is comparable with the rest of Yamaga FC goal keepers." Sorimachi said on EPSON's Facebook page.

The big test for Singapore's star goalkeeper will come on Saturday, when he takes to the field in a friendly match against the Matsumoto University team.

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