Singapore

TKPS teacher was passionate about hockey

He was a defender and a "fierce" player who gave his all when he played.

Hockey was Mr Mohammad Ghazi Mohamed's passion.

Just two weeks ago, the Tanjong Katong Primary School (TKPS) teacher had played for the Singapore Recreation Club (SRC) in a National Hockey League match against the Hollandse Club.

His team won 3-2, a victory SRC's hockey team manager, Mr Lawrence Lee, 45, remembers fondly.

Sadly, it was the last match Mr Ghazi would ever play for his team.

Describing Mr Ghazi as one of his team's key players, Mr Lee said that in the match two weeks ago, his team had gone to Sengkang Hockey Stadium with only 11 players while their opponent had 16.

He said: "This meant that while they could rotate their players, we had none to spare. We fought hard and won.

"Ghazi did many diving tackles. He was a fierce player and all of us are shocked that he's gone."

Agreeing, team captain K. Thanaraj, 43, who is also a teacher, told The New Paper that he was a close friend of both Mr Ghazi and his wife, teacher Khalidal Huda Sukaimi. The couple have three children - two boys and a girl.

He first learnt of the tragedy when she messaged their WhatsApp group last Friday about her husband's disappearance.

"I was hoping and praying that he was still alive, but all hopes were dashed when I found out about his death. All of us are now trying to comfort her," he said.

Singapore Hockey Federation president Mathavan Devadas said Mr Ghazi was a national trainee in the 1990s.

He added: "His death is a sad loss to the local hockey community."

'OLDER BROTHER'

Mr Ghazi also used to play for the police hockey team. Former teammate Farhan Suhaili, 28, said he was like an older brother to the others.

The civil servant said: "He was a great teacher even when he was out of school. I would seen him guiding his students during school hockey matches."

Teacher Mohamed Fahmee, 37, added: "He was a great sportsman who was helpful and humble. I went numb when the report came in (about his death)."

At TKPS yesterday, many people turned up to pay their respects.

A blue jersey with Mr Ghazi's name was laid out on a table, surrounded by notes with condolence messages.

Engineer Ahmad Faisal, 41, whose third child is a Primary 6 pupil at TKPS, said: "Mr Ghazi was close to his pupils. But at the same time, he was a firm teacher who made sure that things were run smoothly."

Former members of the TKPS' hockey team also spoke movingly about him.

Thet Naing Tun, 17, who is now in Secondary 3, said he burst into tears over the news.

He said: "At first, I was not interested in hockey but he introduced the sport to me. I started to enjoy playing hockey and even made it to the school team."

Another former pupil, Sean Tan, 16, said: "Mr Ghazi was one of the best teachers I had. He did not see us as children but as young adults."

I was hoping and praying that he was still alive, but all hopes were dashed when I found out about his death.

- Mr K. Thanaraj, captain of Mr Mohammad Ghazi Mohamed's hockey team

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