Even with broken finger, hero is 53-year-old goalkeeper

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Suresh Nair

AT 53, this father of five should be in his sarong and probably caring for his grandchildren. But former Singapore goalkeeper Shahri Rahim is simply one of a kind.

Over the weekend, he donned the No 1 jersey and played in the Singapore Cricket Club (SCC) International 6s at the Padang and almost single-handedly won the Legends title for Singapore Ex-Internationals – playing the final with a broken finger!

He fractured his middle finger before the final but knowing the intensity of the big match, he refused medical treatment, just bandaged his damaged middle finger and, rather miraculously, forced five outstanding saves as his team of former Malaysia Cup stalwarts finished champions.

His secret, rather tongue-in-cheek to extraordinary bravery: His SEGURO gloves, a global football brand he promotes in the Asean region.

“The gloves made me feel painless even with the broken finger,” he says laughingly. “Seguro goalkeeper gloves are simply outstanding and made me rise to the occasion.”

Singapore Ex-Internationals manager Richard Wong says: “Shahri knows no pain. We wanted to substitute him for the final but he insisted on playing and we were surprised he pulled off five important saves against CLA Legends in the final, which we won 4-0.”

The championship-winning Ex-Internationals comprised former Singapore skipper Razali Saad (now a FAS Council Member), Ho Kwang Hock, Idham Riduan, R. Seenivasan, E. Manimohan, Malek Awab, Tay Peng Kee, Yahya Madon and Kamaruzaman Zainal – all Malaysia Cup stalwarts, in their 50s, who starred for the Lions in the 1970s and 80s.

PRO GOALKEEPER

But if you skim at Shahri’s playing background, you’ll realise he’s a thoroughbred goalkeeper, who played professional S-League football for Singapore Armed Forces FC, Tampines Rovers and Balestier Khalsa and later became goalkeeping coach at Geylang United.

For the Lions, he was in the 1988 Malaysia Cup squad that won the M-League and for the historic 1994 Double-winning team (Malaysia Cup and M-League), he was a squad-member.

Shahri, who also promotes ‘Seguro’ goalkeeping gloves in the region, has his mind set to specialise as a goalkeeping coach. He has attained a Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Level 1 goalkeeper-coach certificate and is also a AFC Licenced coach, He has trained goalkeepers in the national women’s team, national Under 21 squad and the National Football Academies (NFA) Under 15, 16, 17 and 18,

His celebrity status has been used well as the “Ambassador” for Toyota and Borneo Motors for three years when the S-League was introduced in 1996 and he was the lead-actor in a television commercial for the motor giants,

Football fever runs feverishly even after passing the half-century mark and Shahri is also President of National Football League (NFL) Second Division club South Avenue Football Club. Despite budget constraints he put emphasis towards youth development, and the club won the FAS Island Wide League (IWL) in the first year of inaugration in 2015.

Family and friends know Shahri for a growing God-sent reputation as he unfailingly lends a helping hand to organise charity matches for ailing or departed football contemporaries.

Most significantly and recently, he spearheaded football charity ties for the late former Singapore Malaysia Cup hero Nasir “Crazy Horse” Jalil, ex-Singapore striker Yunus Baba and also the leukemia daughter of Lokman Hadan, an ex-Intermediate, Tiong Bahru and Police SA player.

HELPING FOOTBALL FAMiLIES

Shahri, a service executive at Komoco Motors Private Limited, says:  “I enjoy helping footballers’ families. It is always good to bond people together through sports charities and, more importantly, have a deeper social cause for the community.

“Charity football matches are a fun way to raise money for good causes. Players and spectators can enjoy the match and there are number of ways to raise funds from the event. Organising a charity match takes time and effort, but the rewards should make this worthwhile if the day runs smoothly.”

Shahri was particularly touched last November when he did the charity fund-raiser for 66-year-old Yunus Baba, one of the founder members of South Avenue (formerly known as Bakat Baru). Yunus has been home-bound as he silently battled Hodgkin disease (Hodgkin lymphoma), a type of lymphoma, a cancer that starts in white blood cells called lymphocytes. Lymphocytes are part of the immune system.

Yunus went for prolonged treatment with chemotherapy and radiation therapy but family members say that at this advanced stage, they’re just hoping for a miraculous recovery.

Shahri says football has played a crucial “unifying factor” in the Rahim family. He is blessed to have a football-loving family with wife, Kamisa Rahmat, 51, and a family of five, Muhammad Farhan, 25, Farah Huda, 23, Muhammad Sufiyan, 19, Nur Adam Shah, 16 and Nur Alisha, 13.

“Football links the shared experiences of family members across generations and creating a lasting sense of tradition and belonging. The strongest of these relationships is that of father and son,” says Shahri, who still plays active football in the annual Sultan of Selangor Cup.

For his bravery in playing the final with a broken finger and pulling off five impressive saves and also for his prolonged acts of charity-kindness, Shahri Rahim, is one to applaud and to emulate.

For full results of the SCC 6s (ranked as one of the prestigious regional tournaments) over the weekend, please click

 

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