HAPPY FAMILY: Former Tampines Rovers chairman Teo Hock Seng (middle) with former players (left to right) Satria Mad, Noh Alam Shah, Sharifuddin Mahmood and Yunos Samad, who are now all full-time staff at Komoco Motors.

Four ex-Tampines footballers have 'boss' to thank for their current jobs

Pop quiz: Do you know what current Komoco staff Yunos Samad, Sharifuddin Mahmood and Satria Mad have in common?

They were all professional footballers who played in the 2002 RHB Singapore Cup final for Tampines Rovers.

That day, Tampines beat Jurong FC 1-0 before 15,000 fans at the National Stadium to hand Teo Hock Seng his first piece of silverware after taking over as club chairman two years earlier.

Well-known as someone who is big on loyalty, Teo made sure he had the backs of the men who were in the team after they hung up their boots.

Teo, who has been Komoco Motors' managing director since 1986, hired Yunos, Sharifuddin and Satria to work for the company.

The three are now with Komoco's car rental division.

Former Tampines and Singapore striker Noh Alam Shah, who called time on his football career at the end of last season, joined them in December.

Yunos, who has been at Komoco for 11 years, is the longest-serving of the four former S.League players.

The 37-year-old is the manager of Komoco's rental division and speaking to The New Paper recently, the former right wingback said: "The way the boss (Teo) looks after us, during playing days and now, is the same.

"He always emphasises hard work, dedication, discipline. He also wants you to be fully committed and take pride in what you are doing."

Yunos had his reservations when he met the man known as "Teo Hock Sack", because of his impatience with underperforming coaches or foreign imports.

Recalling his first meeting with Teo in 2002 - at Komoco's Alexandra Road office where he works now - the former youth international said: "At the time, he was famous for sacking people.

"So I mustered up courage and asked him: 'Boss, let's say in training or a match, I break my leg. Will you sack me?'

"He suddenly told me to stand up. I got scared. Then he said: 'You see this showroom? If anything happens to you, I will look after you and offer you a job here'."

FAIRY GODFATHER

Yunos left Tampines at the end of 2003 and retired a year later.

He received a call from out of the blue, with the caller telling him "Boss" was looking for him.

"I thought he (Teo) wanted me to sign for Tampines again," recalled Yunos.

"But he offered me a job in Komoco. I haven't looked back since.

"He looks after the welfare of the staff here, even when the economy is bad, this is something not a lot of bosses would do."

Sharifuddin, a left-sided defender back in the day, joined Komoco about six years ago after some help from Yunos.

He retired from the game in 2004 and was working at the Sentosa Skyline Luge as a training coordinator.

"Of course, all of us are thankful because he gave us a chance to work here, even when the outside market is not that good," said the 40-year-old.

"You have to realise it's a totally new industry and we really had to be wiling to learn and absorb everything."

Teo insists he is not a "Fairy Godfather".

While he has offered part-time opportunities to a number of footballers over the years, including Rafi Ali, Nazri Nasir, Firdaus Idros, and current Stags Ismadi Mukhtar, Fabian Kwok and Joey Sim, only a handful have been employed as full-time staff.

Apart from the four in Komoco's car rental division, the only other former footballers working in the company are Shahri Rahim and Lim Chew Peng, former national goalkeepers in the 1980s and 1970s, respectively.

Teo, 69, explained: "In football, as in life, you come in with nothing, you leave with nothing.

"If I can help someone along the way, why not?

"Of course, I have to be prudent and make sure I know the background of the player before offering him a job.

"But I've always held the thought that sportsmen have high values. They know the meaning of hard work."

Teo proudly shares how Komoco's rental department is "one of our highest revenue generators".

Yunos says part of his job satisfaction is seeing Teo beaming with pride.

"When you are here long enough, you realise the only way to repay his kindness is to show dedication to your work," he said.

"Hard work is all we have to show him. Our department has shown great improvement and we have grown together.

"And my hope is we can keep doing so, to show boss he made the right decision in giving us a chance."

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