Interviews

Shakir Hamzah, One-on-one: "I want to prove to everybody that I’m not a bad boy"

Dogged by disciplinary problems in the past few years, Singapore defender Shakir Hamzah is determined to shed the ‘bad boy’ tag and prove his critics wrong with new club Home United in 2018…

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It came as a surprise to many that Shakir Hamzah was released by Tampines Rovers despite being one of the more consistent performers for the Stags over the past two seasons.

It’s sad that I’m not in the Tampines team for 2018, but what’s past is past and I have to make a new chapter in my career now

- Shakir Hamzah

After all, the former National Football Academy (NFA) graduate is undoubtedly one of the best full-backs in the country on his day.

But, Shakir's career has been marred by off-the-field problems, with Stags coach Jurgen Raab explaining to FourFourTwo in a previous interview that the club's decision to release him was down to a disciplinary issue.

But as the 25-year-old tells FFT, he is keen to put the past to bed.

“I can’t comment much on this matter. Maybe he (Raab) has his own way and I have my own way,” Shakir said.

“It’s sad that I’m not in the Tampines team for 2018, but what’s past is past and I have to make a new chapter in my career now."

Shakir (middle) previously featured for LionsXII. Photo: FAS

Shakir has been a magnet for controversy in the past - having gone absent without official leave (AWOL) in May 2013 while serving full-time National Service (NS) with the Police Force to play for the LionsXII in a Malaysia Super League (MSL) game against Pahang FA in Kuantan.

The then 20-year-old paid the price dearly as he was sentenced to four days in detention barracks on the day he was supposed to complete NS. On top of that, he was fined S$4,000 and ordered to serve 30 hours of community service in football-related activities.

I have made mistakes in the past and I think everyone make mistakes in life

- Shakir Hamzah

Then in January 2017, Shakir was arrested at Changi Airport while en route to Terengganu for a pre-season tour with Tampines Rovers due to a failure to attend court – he was later released on bail.

It was understood that the case involved family issues, which led to the player being absent from training and being uncontactable for some time before the arrest.

But, Shakir believes he is not the "bad boy" that others make him out to be.

“I don’t mind people thinking that I’m a bad boy, but inside me I don’t think I’m a bad boy,” insisted the 25-year-old. “I have made mistakes in the past and I think everyone make mistakes in life. The only thing now is that I want to prove to everybody that I’m not a bad boy.

“I don’t really care about all that (people judging him by his off-field issues). Everyone has their own character. I cannot go to the fans and say: ‘this is my problem, you should not come and talk to me in this way’. Whatever people want to say, they can say because everyone is entitled to their own opinions.

Shakir was one of Tampines' standout perforners. Photo: S.League

“I just want to show to the fans even if you think I’m a bad person, I will still give my 100 percent. Sooner or later, they will see ‘eh, actually this guy is not so bad’ or ‘this guy has his own character’.

While declining to speak in depth about his personal issues, Shakir believes he is now in a better state of mind than a year ago as he looks forward to the upcoming season with new club Home United – having signed on a one-year deal.