Life is hard but I don’t want sympathy – Former Selangor Footballer
KUALA LUMPUR,. Former 80s-era national football star Azhar Mohd Sharif refuses to accept public sympathy despite having to live in a house on a hill slope in Kampung Kemensah here.
The 56-year-old widower who once played with legends like Datuk Mokhtar Dahari, Datuk R Arumugam and Zainal Abidin Hassan while representing Selangor, said that it was just part of his life’s journey to have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Explaining his current situation, Azhar was grateful to have the strength to perform odd jobs by tending to a chicken coop at his current residence, which belongs to his friend, in addition to relying on zakat assistance every month.
“Although I’m in this state, I can still be independent, I accept my fate but if there is anyone who is willing to help, it’s up to them. Its only that I don’t want people to take advantage by causing people to gossip.
“I was shocked when I read the article which went viral describing such a bad situation. I don’t want to be seen as asking for sympathy but like I said, I won’t decline any help,” he told Bernama today, as he commented on local reports about his current situation which raised questions about why the former footballer had not received any help.
Azhar said that the COVID-19 pandemic had caused him to lose his job as a coach to several community teams around Gombak and he ended up deciding to stay here. He said he would not mind being housed at any religious learning centres around the Klang Valley, adding that his only daughter would visit him frequently along with her husband to bring him various necessities.
A Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) B coaching licence holder, Azhar shared that his friends, including former national footballers do help him out, but was nonchalant when mentioning that he had never received help from any football association in the country.
Meanwhile, FAM secretary-general Stuart Ramalingam when contacted by Bernama said FAM would never turn down any former national players in need.
“I am sure if we are in touch with him, we can find a way to support him if needed. I will get his details and hope to speak him myself soon,” he said.
Throughout his career, Azhar won the Malaysia Cup twice with the Red Giants, in 1984 and 1986, besides being part of the Malaysian squad that won the 1986 Merdeka Tournament.