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Khairuls, Fandis and the Quah sextet: A look at Singapore’s footballing siblings

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Precious and Emmanuel Emuejeraye

Remember big Precious Emuejeraye? The no-nonsense defender was the third Nigerian to play for the national team after then-regulars Itimi Dickson and Agu Casmir, racking up 61 appearances for Singapore. 

Standing at 1.88m, the 34-year-old received flak for his lack of pace, which some critics claimed was a burden on the entire Lions backline. But with his strength and stature, Precious was a key part of the team that won the 2007 ASEAN Football Championship under former national coach Radojko Avramovic, in what proved the peak of his career.

With his strength and stature, Precious was a key part of the team that won the 2007 ASEAN Football Championship under Radojko Avramovic

The former Gombak United and Woodlands Wellington man went on to play in Indonesia and, after a brief S.League return with Home United in 2014, now turns out for amateur National Football League side Eunos Crescent.

What some may not know is that his younger brother Emmanuel, 28, briefly played alongside him at Gombak. 

Emmanuel, who emerged through the club’s Prime League ranks in 2007, never quite reached the level of recognition his elder brother attained in his three seasons playing in the S.League. The striker scored three goals in the 2009 season before fading into obscurity.

The Quah brothers: Kim Beng, Kim Choon, Kim Swee, Kim Siak, Kim Lye and Kim Song

When talking about brothers in Singapore football, one simply has to pay homage to the celebrated Quah family.

Sparked by Kim Beng in the 1950s, there was a Quah donning Singapore colours for almost three decades. Lions legend Kim Song was the last of the sextet to step onto the pitch in the early 1980s, after Kim Choon, Kim Swee, Kim Siak and Kim Lye.

They are remembered for bringing different qualities to the table. Kim Swee was known for his unrivalled heading ability, Kim Siak for his excellent reading of the game, Kim Lye was a skillful, prolific goalscorer, while Kim Song tormented defenders with his elusive pace.

The latter two were probably the most well-known of the siblings.

Quah Kim Lye (left) alongside Dollah Kassim. Photo: National Archives

Kim Lye, now 75, captained the Lions and top-scored with three goals at the 1973 SEAP Games, the precursor to what are now the SEA Games. His goals also helped Singapore to a historic top-four finish in the 1966 Asian Games, the Republic’s best-ever finish in that competition.

Kim Song, 65, was a feared striker in the 1970s and famously scored a brace in the dramatic 3-2 extra time win over Penang in the 1977 Malaysia Cup victory. He went on to become chairman of Tampines Rovers, director of competitions at the Football Association of Singapore and even found time to court Workers’ Party chairman Sylvia Lim.

Sisters Theresa, Doreen and Rosa also represented the nation in women’s football.

While three of the brothers have since passed away — Kim Beng, Kim Swee and Kim Siak — the incredible legacy carved out by the Quah family lives on in Singapore football.

Shahfiq Ghani and Taufiq Ghani

Considered one of Singapore’s top talents in recent times, Shahfiq was in danger of becoming a forgotten man over the past three years.

Since his breakthrough 2013 debut — winning the Malaysia Super League with LionsXII and being part of the 2013 bronze medal-winning SEA Games squad — the going has been tough for the attacking midfielder, now 25.

A dip in form, coupled by injury problems, meant he missed the 2015 SEA Games and failed to score any goals at club level in 2014. Just last season, the Singapore Sports School graduate had to endure six months out with an anterior cruciate ligament injury.

Shahfiq is trying to re-establish a promising career

But blessed with a formidable left foot — as evidenced by his free-kick brace against Palestine in the 2014 Asian Games — he remains a creative threat for Geylang International. That he has started three out of four games so far this season is an encouraging start.

While all eyes are on Shahfiq as he strives to return to top form, Taufiq on the other hand maintains a lower profile at the same club.

The 27-year-old, who had one-year stints at Woodlands Wellington and Hougang United before returning to Geylang, has yet to win an international cap.

The midfielder has so far played a bit-part role in coach Hasrin Jailani’s squad this season, his only start coming against Warriors FC in February. He was subbed off at half-time as the Eagles clawed back a single goal deficit to earn a hard-fought 1-1 draw.

The elder Ghani played alongside his brother just once so far this season in the 2-0 win against Balestier Khalsa last month, where he came on as a sub. But with more than 20 league games to go, and with Geylang having one of the thinner squads in the league, it could be just a matter of time before the siblings start a game together.

Photos: Weixiang Lim/FourFourTwo unless stated