Geylang International footballers put smiles on faces this Ramadan

With the Singapore Premier League suspended, players and coaches from Geylang International are using the free time they have to do their part for the community.

Phoon Jia Hui

Published: 19 May 2020, 4:57 PM

With their face masks on and safe distancing measures observed, they split up before going around the island in small groups – all for a good cause.

Last Tuesday (May 12), the players and staff from Singapore Premier League (SPL) club Geylang International partnered Pertapis Halfway House – a centre which focuses on rehabilitation of drug offenders – to distribute Hari Raya goodies to about 50 beneficiaries in Singapore. These goodies – which were packed by Pertapis – include packets of kurma, books, cash donation as well as festive notes penned by residents from Pertapis to their family members.

The entire outreach took about three hours, from 11am to 2pm.

For Iqbal Hussain, who plays as a forward for Geylang, it was a “great feeling” to be a part of the initiative.

“During the entire process, we managed to engage with the residents who acknowledged our actions with some kind words,” the 26-year-old recalled.

“From this, I could tell that the smallest gesture from us really means a lot to them and it’s always good to give them a reason to smile during this period. That said, we should always seek any opportunity we can to help others and raise awareness to help make the world a better place for everyone and the future generations.”

Teammate Darren Teh concurred. Describing the initiative as a good one, he said there is “more sentimental value” as it is the fasting month for the Muslims.

“It definitely reiterates the meaning of giving back to the society and helping those who are affected in one way or another,” said the 23-year-old.

Geylang’s forward Iqbal Hussain said it was a “great feeling” to be part of the outreach. PHOTO CREDIT: Geylang International Football Club

Meanwhile, Azahari Aziz – a member of the backroom staff at Geylang – said that the current situation meant they have had to make do. He shared that in the past, the club would usually hold events like gatherings to break fast during the holy month, but with the circuit breaker measures in place, that cannot be done.

“The outreach activity this time round has been made more challenging because we cannot do what we normally do during Ramadan every year,” said the 40-year-old. “What we have done is to gather as many cars as possible to send things like food and books to the needy. ”

Geylang are planning to hold more outreach or volunteering sessions, with the next coming on Wednesday with the Jamiyah Singapore.

While they can’t entertain their fans on the pitch at the moment, Teh is hoping to be able to go back to doing what he loves doing most even if this means they have to take a break.

“To be honest, my legs are already starting to itch from the lack of football action!” he candidly said.

“I think everyone would agree that they miss the adrenaline from football, but ultimately nothing beats being safe and healthy. Let’s all unite and we’ll get through this together and come out stronger from this.”

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