Kelong expert won't cash in on tip-offs of rigged matches
He has won several awards, both at home and abroad, for his scoops on football match fixing.
But Mr Zaihan Mohamed Yusof is not a football fan.
The New Paper senior correspondent is not a betting man either, despite getting tips on the results of allegedly rigged matches in the course of his work that could have won him a lot of money.
Mr Zaihan, 43, revealed this at the launch of his book, Foul! The Inside Story Of Singapore Match Fixers, at the Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) News Centre yesterday.
"It was the 2011 Gold Cup (a tournament involving teams from North and Central America). Ten minutes before the games between El Salvador and Mexico, Costa Rica and Cuba, I was told the scores would be 5-0," he said.
"Which was ridiculous. Half-time, it was 0-0, full time 5-0."
Like a true professional, he did not act on the tip-offs.
"I'm not a gambler. Of course, I've been scolded by my friends for not sharing (the tip-offs), but to be fair that would be something like insider trading," he added,
Mr Zaihan, who won Story of the Year and Journalist of the Year at SPH's English and Malay Newspapers Division's annual awards in 2012, as well as a Society of News Design excellence award in 2012, did get into some uncomfortable situations after he started on the trail of the kelong kings in September 2010.
"Sometimes there would be strange people knocking on the door but when I opened it, nobody would be there," he recalled.
He also received cryptic messages warning him to watch his shadow. But he is relieved that his family was never threatened.
His wife, Her World magazine deputy editor Seto Nu-Wen, 37, finds it ironic that match fixing has become a large part of his life.
"Initially, he did not even know how football is played," she said with a laugh.
Still, she is glad to see his hard work over the years culminate in his own book.
Mr Zaihan's message to football fans is to stop illegal betting, since this is what keeps the match-fixing syndicates going.
"It is a chicken-and-egg thing. It is also important that individuals keep their integrity, to be rock-solid so that they are not tempted by illegal money-making," he said.
Foul! The Inside Story Of Singapore Match Fixers is available in leading bookstores for $19.26. It can also be ordered from the Straits Times Press online bookstore at www.stpressbooks.com.sg
I am very proud of the book and I think The New Paper really excelled in its coverage of the match-fixing stories. They have always stayed on top to break the stories on the match-fixing hub in Singapore.
- Mr Patrick Daniel, editor-in-chief of SPH's English and Malay Newspapers Division
I think Zaihan's book will be, for many people, an eye-opener on the world of match fixing, here and abroad... Seeing all the pieces of the puzzle come together in one book is both fascinating and scary.
- Ms Loretta Dalpozzo, journalist from Swiss National TV