Former national youth footballer became dad just 8 days before fatal bike crash
He was riding his company's motorcycle back to his office in Tampines when tragedy struck.
Mr Muhammad Mirza Abdul Razak, 31, who was a defender for the Singapore under-14 national football team in 1997, crashed at Braddell Road at around 6.20am on May 23.
The Orange Force senior specialist rider with NTUC Income, who was part of its accident response team, was rushed to Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH), but was pronounced dead about an hour later.
Nearly a month has passed since the accident and his wife, Madam Diana Nursita Abdul Latiff, 29, still struggles to talk about her late husband without bursting into tears.
The situation is made even more heartrending as the couple had just celebrated the birth of their first child a mere eight days before the accident.
"He was very happy and excited to bring home our baby from the hospital," she said.
A wistful smile formed on Madam Diana's lips yesterday when she recalled how she had known her husband since young as both had been pupils of Xinmin Primary School in Hougang.
They reconnected online in 2008 and were married three years later.
But the smile was quickly replaced with tears as the tax officer recounted the morning of the tragedy.
Speaking from her four-room flat in Punggol yesterday, Madam Diana said she had just finished observing her mother and grandmother bathing her baby, Misha Dalia, at around 8am when she decided to check her mobile phone.
Mr Muhammad Mirza had started his night shift at about 10pm the night before and was expected to be home at around 8am.
"I was wondering, 'It's already 8am, but why isn't my husband home?' He would usually call me."
She then noticed that she had a missed call from an unfamiliar number.
"I found out that one of my husband's colleagues had tried to call. He told me that my husband was involved in an accident and I had to go to TTSH. I was shocked," she said.
Madam Diana immediately rushed to the Accident and Emergency department with her mother and saw that her husband's colleagues were already there.
She cried: "I was already in tears as I was so worried. I was led into a holding room. I was wondering, 'Why couldn't I see my husband?'
"The doctor came about 15 minutes later and by just looking at his face, I knew that something bad had happened. I was told that they tried to revive him, but he had already died."
Because her husband was an experienced and careful rider, Madam Diana said she cannot understand how the accident could have happened.
She added: "I don't like bikes at all and I have a phobia of them. I asked him before if he wanted to change his job. But he loved his job for the freedom and because he was not desk-bound."
Mr Abdul Razak Ahmad, 59, a senior staff nurse, said his son got his riding licence when he was still in his teens.
He said: "I remember that he quietly took his riding licence and bought a bike without my knowledge. He would purposely park his bike far away from our flat so that I wouldn't find out.
"But I found out later when a friend told me about it. When my son came home, I told him, 'If you have a bike, you'd better sell it. Or else I will set it on fire.'
"He sold his bike later and, feeling sorry for him, I got him a car."
He was informed of the accident by his eldest son at around 8.15am. Said Mr Abdul Razak: "My eldest son didn't want to tell me that his brother had died at first, but I told him to come clean. When he did so, my mind went totally blank.
"I then told my wife to get ready, took a taxi, picked her up at our block and went straight to TTSH. I didn't tell her that our son was already gone."
His wife, Madam Rahani Tambi, 59,found out that her son had died only when she arrived at the hospital.
Said the housewife: "I could not believe my ears. I went weak and sat on the floor."
Madam Diana said her parents and in-laws are helping her during this difficult period.
"It's very difficult now, because who doesn't need a husband's support? I have to be strong and support my baby as I am now the sole breadwinner for my family."
The doctor came about 15 minutes later and by just looking at his face, I knew that something bad had happened. I was told that they tried to revive him, but he had already died.
- Madam Diana Nursita Abdul Latiff
Charity football match to help family financially
HAPPY TIMES: The late Mr Muhammad Mirza Abdul Razak (second from right) with his former youth national teammates. PHOTO COURTESY OF ABDUL RAZAK AHMAD
The last time they played football together was almost 20 years ago.
But a group of former national youth players will lace up their boots one more time this Sunday at Bedok Stadium, for a fallen "brother".
The group of about 40 players born in 1982 and 1983 will play against a team comprising MediaCorp Suria artists in a charity match for Mr Muhammad Mirza Abdul Razak.
Mr Assadiq Bakri, one of his former teammates who will be playing on Sunday, said: "Many of us are fathers now. When I had my firstborn, I remembered I always rushed home every day from work just to see my daughter. So Mirza's passing really hit me hard."
Mr Assadiq said he and a few of Mr Mirza's former teammates had mooted the idea of collecting donations to help Madam Diana financially. The idea grew to become a charity football match.
Another of Mr Mirza's former teammates is Mr Nor Azli Yusoff, a defender with Great Eastern-Yeo's S.League team Tanjong Pagar United.
Mr Azli said: "I was in hospital recovering from an operation (for cheekbone fracture) when I heard the news, and I was in shock and disbelief.
"The next day, many of our ex-teammates were there at his funeral. You could say that's when the idea to do something for him came about. The main thing all of us wanted to do was make sure his baby was taken care of."
Mr Mirza, who was described as a "quiet" guy off the field, was well known among his peers for his determination, fitness and fighting spirit on it.
So much so that even those players who knew him and went on to become national team stars, like LionsXII duo Baihakki Khaizan and Khairul Amri, offered to help. Baihakki and Amri, along with other LionsXII players like Isa Halim and Sufian Anuar, will be there at Bedok Stadium.
They will not be playing, but will take photos with the public at a special photobooth for a $10 donation.
TAKE A PENALTY
For $20, members of the public can also take a penalty with any one of the stars standing as a goalkeeper.
A donation box will be set up at the stadium for those who wish to donate larger amounts. All proceeds will go directly to Madam Diana.
Mr Assadiq said he is proud so many former players stepped up to offer help and donations.
He said: "Back then, there wasn't the glamour of being in the national youth teams like today, and we played for the flag. We fought hard for one another, and so the bond is there. We were like brothers.
"So, even though so many years have passed and along the way most of us didn't end up playing professionally, we are still there for one another."
As she is still in confinement, Madam Diana said she will not be able to attend the charity match.
She said: "But I'm very touched that his former teammates have decided to come together to organise this event.
"The money they raise will be kept aside for my baby's future."
- SAZALI ABDUL AZIZ
WHAT: Mirza's 11 (comprising former national youth players) v MediaCorp Suria artists
WHEN: Sunday, 5pm
WHERE: Bedok Stadium