Life after professional football for our stars and hereos
Most people are of the opinion that there might not be too much of a career after a Singaporean professional footballer leave the pitch. But there are possible careers. Most former pros continue their contributions to the pitch by becoming coaches to schools or sports academy and others take different routes that can range from entering the food & beverage industry to the finance industry. The following lists some possible careers after professional football in Singapore and the people who are involved.
1) Creating a career in the Food & Beverage Industry to either further their own interest or to create a meeting place for like-minded persons.
– Opening of nasi padang stall by Juma’at Jantan who opened one in Yishun in September 2017.
Ju’maat Jantan. Image source: Foxsportsasia.com
– Opening of briyani restaurant by Syed Mutalib, that is in memory of Choo Seng Quee, the Singapore coach that influenced the Singapore football scene greatly and was coach to many local footballers.
Syed Mutalib. Image source: Asiaone.com
2) Becoming a referee, coach or advisor on football councils and continuing to contribute to the football scene.
– Chua Boon Lay continued to mentor and train young players when he retired from competitive football in the late 1030s. Chua continued to play for the Singapore Chinese Football Association (SCFA) veteran team and also served on the SCFA council. He also took on various roles such as adviser to the Lien Hwa (Malayan Chinese) team that toured Asia in 1947 and coached the Singapore Rovers in the Singapore League.
– Lim Yong Liang retired in 1934 and became a referee and coach, coaching the Chinese teams from 1933 to 1940. In 1936, he became the coach of Singapore’s Malaya Cup team until the WWII in 1942. He was also coach to the Malayan Chinese team when they played at the 1935 China Olympics, and manager for two of Singapore Amateur Football Association (SAFA) tours to Saigon. He was the honorary secretary of SAFA, a post he was re-elected to each year from 1946 to 1966. In 1965, he was elected as the vice-president of the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) and served as soccer advisor to the National Sports Promotion Board and FAS after 1971.
– After retirement in 1955, Chia Boon Leong worked with former Malaya Cup team mate Harith Omar as a coach for Singapore Amateur Football Association (SAFA) in 1963, under the director of coach Rahim Sattar. He later worked as an accountant, and served as manager of the national football team on a part-time basis between 1977 and 1980. After SAFA was renamed Football Association of Singapore (FAS) in 1966, Chia was the FAS’ assistant treasurer and served on its council between 1977 and 1980.
Chia Boon Leong in his younger days. Image source: Singaporeolympics.com
Chia Boon Leong with wife and former SNOC President Mr Teo Chee Hean in 2005. Image source: Singaporeolympics.com
– Dollah Kassim retired at the end of July 1979 and became a football coach, coaching Singapore’s youth teams in the Lion City Cup as well as school and company teams while working with Singapore Pools.
Dollah Kassim celebrating with the fans after bring home the Malaysia Cup in 1977. Image source: Asiaone.com
– Lim Chiew Peng continued his love of football after retirement by imparting his skills and knowledge to young goalkeepers at Tampines Rovers. He passed on in 2016.
Lim Chiew Peng. Image source: straitstimes.com
– After Seak Poh Leong retired from active competition, he took up various youth coaching roles at the Football Association of Singapore and Geylang International. He was given a two-year (1987 – 1988) deal to coach the Lions but could only manage two Malaysia Cup quarter-final finishes.
Seak Poh Leong. Image source: asiaone.com
– S. Subramani was appointed assistant coach to Home United FC, a position which he held till late 2011 before leaving to join the Institute of Education (ITE) as a physical education (PE) lecturer. He returned to football in 2013 to assist Aide Iskandar to coach the national Under-23s on a part-time basis, but left in 2015.
S.Subramani. Image source: todayonline.com
– V. Sundramoorthy was appointed national coach of Singapore’s national football team in 2016 on a one-year contract. He is the first local to take charge of the Lions since Vincent Subramaniam in 2000.
V.Sundramoorthy. Image source: straitstimes.com
– Fandi Ahmad was appointed as head coach of Singapore’s national team in 2018.
Fandi Ahmad. Image source: straitstimes.com
– Sudiat Dali coached the Nanyang Polytechnic football team in the Polytechnic-Institute of Technical Education Championship in 2009.
– Tay Peng Kee became a coach for Tampines Rovers in 1995, before he became the team’s general manager in 2011.
Tay Peng Kee. Image source: todayonline.com
– Shahri Rahim 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. He was the “Ambassador” for Toyota and Borneo Motors for three years when the S-League was introduced in 1996 and was the lead actor in a television commercial for the motor giants. Shahri is also President of National Football League (NFL) Second Division club South Avenue Football Club.
Shahri Rahim. Image source: sports247.my
– In 1993, P.N. Sivaji went to Germany to pursue the International A Licence, one of the highest coaching certificates in professional football. He returned to coach Tiong Bahru and spent four years as FAS Technical Director before returning to club football in 2008 with Home United, leading them to third place in the S-League.
PN Sivaji. Image source: asiaone.com
– Tohari Paijan, left Tanjong Pagar United FC in 2003 and has largely been coaching schools since. He has an AFC “A” coaching license.
Tohari Paijan. Image source: Berita Harian
– Aide Iskandar turned to coaching after 2007 and was in charge of Sengkang Punggol and subsequently the Young Lions. In 2013, he led the Singapore Under-23 team to a bronze medal at the SEA Games.
Aide Iskandar. Image source: tnp.sg
– Steven Tan became a youth coach with F-17 Academy, a private football academy after leaving the S-League scene in 2013. In 2016, he joined forces with Aleksandar Duric for ActiveSG Football Academy’s programme.
Steven Tan with son, Mark Ryan. Image source: todayonline.com
– After his retirement in 2004, Samawira Basri developed a reputation for developing young talents, having coached the youth teams of Geylang, Gombak United, Tanjong Pagar, as well as the Fandi Ahmad Academy over the years. He joined Hougang in mid-2014 to coach their Prime League team. He left Hougang to re-join Geylang in 2016 where he is currently in charge of its Centre of Excellence (COE) Under-15 team.
Samawira Basri with Nazri Nasir (1st from left) and Lee Man Hon (2nd from left). Image source: todayonline.com
– After retiring in 2008, Nazri Nasir joined the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) and led the national Under-15s at the 2012 and 2013 Lion City Cups, before being named LionsXII assistant coach in December 2013.
– Kadir Yahya was in charge of the National Football Academy (NFA) from 2003 to 2007 and oversaw the development of national players. He led the Singapore Under-15s to a bronze medal in the 2010 Youth Olympic Games and was assistant to V Sundramoorthy in the LionsXII’s maiden season in 2012. Kadir has since been coaching at St Joseph’s Institution (SJI). He joined the Singapore Under-23 coaching set-up prior to the 2015 SEA Games, but left after the Young Lions crashed out from the group stages.
Kadir Yahya. Image source: straitstimes.com
– Rezal Hassan retired after the 2012 season and joined Hougang United in 2013 as a goalkeeping coach. He left after just a season. Rezal is now coaching in schools – Fengshan Primary and Tanjong Katong Secondary – and head of goalkeeping at JSSL Arsenal.
Rezal Hassan. Image source: playmakerstats.com
– Mohammad Khakpour, from Iran, had played defender for Geylang International in 1996. He left Singapore after this season and captained the Iran team at the 1998 World Cup before ending his career in the United States playing for Metrostars in 2000. He then established a youth academy called MK Soccer Club in Newport Beach, California and became involved in Iranian football where he was coach to Iran’s Under-23 side from 2014 to 2016.
Mohammad Khakpour. Image source: persianfootball.com
– Hamid Esteli, also from Iran, played as midfielder for Geylang International between 1996 and 1997. He left after two years with the club and sealed his name in world football history when he scored in Iran’s 2-1 win over United States in the 1998 World Cup. Hamid retired from football in 2004 and last coached Iranian second tier side, Malavan FC, in 2016 following spells with Rah Ahan Tehran FC and Persepolis FC.
Hamid Estelli (right). Image source: Persianleague.com
– Surachai Jaturapattarapong, also known as J Surachai, was one of the first Thai players to play in the S-League. He retired from professional football in 2005 but continued to serve as Home United’s Prime League coach for a brief period. In 2009, he returned to Thailand where he was head coach of Bangkok Glass over three separate spells.
Surachai Jaturapattarapong. Image source: footballtop.com
– Totchtawan Sripan, also known as Tawan, from Thailand was the midfielder for Sembawang Rangers from 1998 to 2003. Tawan retired from professional football in 2009 and went into coaching, taking charge of Police Tero, Saraburi FC and Police United. He led Muangthong United to the league and league cup titles in 2016, winning the league cup again in 2017. He resigned from his post in 2018 as head coach after a 6-1 thrashing by PT Prachaup in the league.
Totchtawan Sripan. Image source: football-tribe.com
– Fabio Fanticelle Da Silva, from Brazil, came to Singapore in 1996 and played for Police FC (now Home United) before moving on to Jurong FC. He became the football coach of Meridian Junior College (MJC) in 2005 when both the school and football team were only in its second year. The 2018 season will be his 14th season in charge of the MJC football team.
Fabio Fanticelle Da Silva (right). Image source: goal.com
– Majid Motlagh, from Iran, played in the 1998 S-League season. His appearance in the 1998 Singapore Cup final lasted 32 minutes before he had to go off with a hamstring injury and retire thereafter. He then embarked on coaching, starting out as assistant coach of the Iran Under-19s before taking the reins at a few Iranian clubs. He is currently unemployed after leaving top-flight outfit Gol Gohar Sirjan in June 2016.
Majid Motlagh. Image source: national-football-teams.com
– Dragan Talajic, from Croatia, played goalkeeper with Tanjong Pagar United between 1998 and 2000. He hanged up his gloves in 2000 and became a successful coach, winning the 2004 AFC Champions League with Saudi Arabian side Al-Ittihad and picking up domestic titles in Jordan and Kuwait. Talajic was appointed as head coach of CSL club Henan Jianye in 2017.
Dragan Talajic. Image source: Wikipedia.org
– Nicodeme Boucher moved into coaching after his retirement in 2007 and has won titles in both Reunion Island and France. He has been based in France since 2010 and last coached fifth-tier outfit SU Agen Football before leaving in October 2016.
Nicodeme Boucher. Image source: club.quomodo.com
– Sutee Suksomkit, from Thailand, played in Singapore from 2001 to 2009 for various teams including Tanjong Pagar United FC, Home United FC and Tampines Rovers FC. Sutee hanged up his boots in 2015 and moved into coaching. He is now an assistant coach at Chiangrai United after stints with Krabi, Khon Kaen and Lampang.
Sutee Suksomkit. Image source: Wikipedia.org
– Kenji Arai, from Japan, played for Albirex Niigata (S) in 2004-2005, Warriors FC in 2006-2009, Hougang United FC in 2010 and Home United FC in 2011-2012. After retiring from professional football, he now resides in Saitama, Japan where he is coaching the Under-12s at Fly High Soccer School.
Kenji Arai. Image source: transfermarkt.com
– Philippe Aw was appointed as head coach of the Under-15 National Team in 2019. He was a member of Home United that won the 2000 Singapore Cup. Although he never made it big as a pro footballer despite his early promise, over the years, he made a name for himself as a coach who is a tactician, shaping his team to play a passing game on the ground.
Philippe Aw. Image source: straitstimes.com
3) Ambassadorial Role/Administrative Role
– Samad Allapitchay is playing an ambassadorial role and taking a senior leadership role as non-playing skipper in the annual Sultan of Selangor’s Cup playoff, with 2017 marking the 16th edition of the friendly tournament that was introduced to commemorate the old Malaysia Cup rivalry between Singapore and Selangor.
Samad Allapitchay. Image source: sports247.my
– Razali Saad was elected as one of the four FAS vice-presidents in April 2017 and is the chairperson of the Disability and Special Needs Players’ Committee and a board member of Sport Singapore (SportSG). He is also the general manager at The Arena, a football thematic sports complex at Woodleigh Park.
Razali Saad. Image source: todayonline.com
– Jorg Steinebrunner, a former Germany under-21 international, played for Tanjong Pagar United until 2003 and had a few coaching stints with Woodlands, Sengkang Punggol, Geylang International, Warriors FC and Indonesia’s PSM Makassar. He is currently technical director at the Malaysia Super League side Negeri Sembilan.
Jorg Steinebrunner . Image source: gifc.org.sg
– Ballamodou Conde from Guinea, Africa, was in Singapore from 1999 to 2007, playing for various football teams, including Gombak United, Warriors FC, Tanjong Pagar United and Geylang International before returning to Australia. He is currently the Managing Director at Australian Football Generation STARS.
Ballamodou Conde. Image source: alchetron.com
4) Going into Politics
– Alistair Edwards hung up his boots in 2002 and began his coaching career with the Football Federation of Australia (FFA), starting out as the assistant coach of the women’s Under-20 side in 2004. He went on to become the assistant technical director and coach for the FFA youth teams from 2007 to 2012. He made a foray into the A-League when he took charge of Perth Glory in 2012 but was sacked after 11 months when he fell out with several players as well as Perth Glory owner, Tony Sage.
Alistair Edwards. Image source: alchetron.com
He tried his hand at politics in 2001 and was elected as a city councillor for Cockburn City Council. He is also working part-time for Astro with their coverage of the Malaysian Super League (MSL). In 2016, Alistair is back in Johor as the sporting director of Malaysia Super League club Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT).
5) Venturing into Business
– After Syed Faruk Syed Salim Alkaff’s playing career ended in 1993, he ventured into business. His first was initiative was a kindergarten. He then ventured into futsal courts, Premier Pitch, in 2008, at the previous Turf Club in Bukit Timah.
Syed Faruk Syed Salim Alkaff. Image source: tnp.sg
– At age 28, Lee Man Hon retired from football and moved on to become a property agent for eight years. As of 2015, he was running a clothing stall at China Square. He also does some coaching on the side with students.
Lee Man Hon. Image source: mothership.sg
– S. Sasikumar retired in 2003 and moved on to sports entrepreneurship, establishing himself in the sports marketing industry and setting up his own firm Red Card Group two years later. One of its projects is the revival of the Lion City Cup in 2011 and a deal to bring former Premier League footballer Jermaine Pennant to Singapore. Sasikumar won the Entrepreneurial Footballer Award at the inaugural Pentagon Awards in 2016.
Sasikumar. Image source: channelnewsasia.com
– Upon retirement in 2008, Rafi Ali worked at Komoco Motors as a car sales consultant but continued to stay in football, setting up the Rafi Ali Soccer School and coaching Republic Polytechnic football team. Since 2015, Rafi has focused his efforts on helping his family’s nasi briyani shop and wedding catering services while coaching Republic Polytechnic on a part-time basis.
– Lim Soon Seng became a property agent in 2004.
– Vlado Bozinovski, an Australian midfield, became a football agent based in Portugal after retiring at the end of the 2001 season. Prior to retirement, he was a member of the Tanjong Pagar United FC that won the 1998 Singapore Cup and played for Home United FC and Clementi Khalsa FC where he was the player-coach until he was relieved of his coaching duties in September 2001. Subsequently, Bozinovski became a players agent.
Vlado Bozinovski. Image source: alchetron.com
– Ernie Tapai, a former Australian footballer who played for Stoke City, came to the S-League at the age of 33 in 1999. He retired in 2002 to go into coaching but stopped after a few years to run his own business.
Ernie Tapai. Image source: alchetron.com
6) Be an Educator/Youth Counsellor
– Lim Tong Hai hung up his boots in 2003. He then served in various backroom roles at S-League side Geylang International, even as coach of their senior team before moving to the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) as a sports and wellness senior lecturer.
Lim Tong Hai. Image source: straitstimes.com
– Gusta Guzarishah became a counsellor, guiding youngsters with a chequered past.
Gusta Guzarishah. Image source; youtube.com
7) Be a TV Star or celebrity
– Abbas Saad retired from football after suffering a bad injury in 2005. He is now a commentator on Astro SuperSport channel’s FourFourTwo, a twice-weekly football TV programme.
Abbas Saad (right) with Fandi Ahmad. Image source: sg.news.yahoo.com
8) Join the Enforcement agencies
– Rudy Khairon joined the Singapore Prison Service after hanging up his boots in 2006.
Rudy Khairon. Image source: geocities.ws
- Lim Tang Boon, Footballer of the Year 1980, left the national team in 1984 citing pressing work commitments. Not much was heard about him until 1996 when he was in the news for breaking the law. He was charged for criminal breach of trust.
– Leong Kok Fann was a Council Member of the FAS and the co-founder of the Legion of Lions which is a voluntary group dedicated to the promotion of football.
Leong Kok Fann. Image source: gifc.org.sg
– Ahmad Latiff retired in 2014 and is now working as a private bus driver.
Ahmad Latiff. Image source: bolasepako.com
1) Creating a career in the Food & Beverage Industry
2) Becoming a referee, coach or advisor on football councils
Brazilian Jericho Football Academy. “Interview with Coach Fabio”. Retrieved from http://brazilianjerichosoccer.com/news.htm on 19/11/2018.
3) Ambassadorial Role/Administrative Role
4) Going into Politics
5) Venturing into Business
6) Be an Educator/Youth Counsellor
7) Be a TV Star or celebrity
Mothership.sg. “9 candidates that Football Association of Singapore should consider as the next Lions XII coach”. Retrieved from https://mothership.sg/2013/10/singapores-football-coach/ on 2/10/2018.
8) Join the Enforcement agencies
Geylang International Football Club. “Getting to know: The Chairman”. Retrieved from http://gifc.org.sg/getting-to-know-the-chairman/ on 8/11/2018.
Chia Boon Leong
Lim Chiew Peng
Seak Poh Leong
Tay Peng Kee
Samawira Basri and Nazri Nasir
Fabio Fanticelle Da Silva
Syed Faruk Syed Salim Alkaff
Lee Man Hon
Lim Tong Hai
Leong Kok Fann