The Choa Chu Kang Stadium could witness a family reunion of sorts this Sunday (23 June), when the Lion City Sailors Women’s Team takes to the pitch for their Deloitte Women’s Premier League (WPL) clash with Geylang International.

For the first time since their days at Telok Kurau Primary School, sisters Natasha and Nurhidayu Naszri will don the same jersey — the Sailors’ — and could potentially line up side by side in the centre of midfield against the Eagles.

Natasha and Nurhidayu were among the four new signings made by the Sailors during the recent WPL mid-season transfer window. The other additions to the team are forward Priscille Le Helloco and Nur Ain Salleh, who is the first female Sailors Football Academy Scholar.

The Sailors signed 20-year-old Nurhidayu from BG Tampines Rovers, while her younger sister Natasha, who played for the club in 2023, has rejoined Daniel Ong’s squad until the end of the 2024 WPL season. Natasha will then return to Spain to continue her tenure at the ESC LaLiga Academy as part of her Unleash the Roar! (UTR) scholarship.

The prospect of sharing the pitch with her older sister once again is something that Natasha is looking forward to.

“On and off the pitch, we have great chemistry and always support each other. I think this will really help us both perform at our best,” Natasha said. “Since we both play in central midfield, I believe we’ll combine with each other really well.”

Natasha also revealed that watching Nurhidayu play football when she was younger inspired her to get into the game herself.

She shared, “I was inspired by her (Nurhidayu) as I watched her train with the school team and play with teams outside of school. So, playing with her in the WPL means a lot to me. It’s something I looked forward to while growing up.”

Nurhidayu acknowledged that sharing the pitch with her sister would be a special moment for both of them.

“Natasha first started playing football because she saw me join it as a CCA (co-curricular activity) and decided to follow in my footsteps,” Nurhidayu recalled fondly. “We bickered a lot, but no matter what, we always supported each other.

“We have a very close relationship, and it’s been great having her back. Since we play in similar positions and have different strengths and weaknesses, I look forward to seeing how we perform on the field together as teammates again.”

While excited to make her debut for the Sailors alongside her sister, Nurhidayu admitted that she is still not at her 100% yet, having just returned from a year-long ACL injury in April.

Nonetheless, she is determined to make up for lost time, as she works towards full fitness with the Sailors.

“Having missed a full year of football, I’m pushing myself harder to match the intensity at The Sailors,” she said. “With support from coaches, teammates, and my own determination, I’m confident that through rigorous training and effort, I’ll return to my peak condition with this team.”

Both Natasha and Nurhidayu will be aiming to help the Sailors extend their lead at the top of the WPL and maintain their perfect record this season — having secured seven wins out of seven — as they prepare to face Geylang, who are currently third in the table.

With a year of experience at the ESC LaLiga Academy in Spain under her belt, Natasha is eager to demonstrate what she learnt when she steps onto the pitch on Sunday.

“In Spain, they emphasised making quick decisions whenever I had the ball. By improving my possession skills and increasing my speed of play, I hope to help dictate the team’s tempo,” Natasha said.

“It’s crucial to maintain high intensity in both training and matches. To continue progressing, I need to uphold the same level of intensity I maintained in Spain so I can stay focused and disciplined, especially on Sunday.”