Geylang's Shariff jailed for attack on relative
Former international punished for attack on relative but Geylang will stick by their player
While they did not know that legal proceedings would ensue, S.League side Geylang International were aware of Shariff Samat's "personal circumstances", but went ahead to sign him on a one-year deal at the end of last year.
Yesterday, the 32-year-old, the son of former Singapore captain Samad Allapitchay, was jailed two weeks for one count of voluntarily causing hurt to his brother-in-law in an incident that took place in Simei on Nov 10 last year, according to court documents.
Another similar charge and a third charge of entering his brother-in-law's home without permission were taken into consideration for sentencing.
Shariff could have been jailed up to two years and fined $5,000.
Despite the court case looming over his head, Shariff managed to put in solid shifts in the heart of Geylang's defence, featuring in 12 of the Eagles' 13 matches this term, contributing to two clean sheets, with the club currently in fourth place in the nine-team S.League.
Geylang general manager Aizat Ramli, who attended the hearing yesterday along with Samad and Shariff's wife, told The New Paper that the club will not turn their back on their player.
He said: "Geylang International FC would like to confirm that Shariff Samat is and will continue to be a contracted player with the club.
"On May 23, 2016, Shariff was sentenced to two weeks for an offence he had committed before he had signed with the club. The club are fully aware of his personal circumstances.
"Shariff had declared and admitted to the case. He had shown remorse and pledged to change his ways. Since he signed with the club, his on- and off-field attitude and performances have been excellent.
"Geylang International FC are fully supportive of Shariff during this difficult period for him and his young family. The club are confident that he is able to overcome this episode and return to the club stronger.
"In the meantime, the club urge everyone to respect his family's privacy."
It has been an eventful 16 years since the turn of the millennium for former Singapore international Shariff.
In 2001, he was attacked by gang members at Clarke Quay during a night out. Shariff suffered a stab wound that missed his right lung by centimetres. His friend, Sulaiman Hashim, a National Football Academy Under-18 striker, died after suffering 13 stab wounds.
Two years later, while playing for Sembawang Rangers, he ran across the pitch to punch Geylang defender Peter Bennett in an off-the-ball incident, breaking the latter's nose.
Shariff was banned for nine months and fined $500 by the Football Association of Singapore.
He bounced back in 2007, doing well enough on the pitch to win the S.League Young Player of the Year award with Tampines Rovers and was part of the Singapore Under-23 team that won a bronze medal at the SEA Games in Korat, Thailand.
But, in 2011, Shariff, this time in Hougang United colours, was embroiled in another "footbrawl" episode with Etoile FC goalkeeper Hadama Bathily, which resulted in the match being called off before kick-off. Shariff was suspended for five games and fined $1,500.
He rediscovered his discipline and form in 2013 and was called up by former national football coach Bernd Stange in his first match in charge, and played the last 20 minutes of a 2-0 friendly win at Myanmar for his only cap.
Samad, whom Shariff is known to be very close to, was understandably upset at the outcome of the hearing yesterday.
He said: "He has trained well and stayed disciplined after signing for Geylang.
"I hope he can learn from this lesson and stay out of trouble after his release."