Abbas saad: Always on the ball

Abbas Saad had a very difficult upbringing.

The former international footballer was only 8 when he lost two older brothers. One died in a bomb explosion that killed about 50 civilians. His brother was walking in the streets when the bomb went off.

He lost his other brother a few months later to an illness.

Losing two family members in a space of a few months was not an easy thing.

Born in Beirut, Lebanon, his family moved to Australia in search of greener pastures. It was in Australia that he began building his career in football before being imported by Johor and later Singapore to play in the Malaysian League.

Then, just as his football career was on a high, where he was instrumental in helping Johor and Singapore win the M-League and Malaysia Cup double in 1991 and 1994 respectively, he was charged with match-fixing. Though he was convicted and fined S$50,000 by the courts in Singapore in June 1995, Abbas has always maintained his innocence.

"I'm a positive guy and a fighter. I'm innocent and I'm grateful to all my friends and family who have been supporting me. It was unfortunate that I was made a scapegoat. They needed someone high-profile to blame and that happened to be me," said Abbas, who didn't lose much sleep over the incident.

It took 14 years to prove it but Abbas is glad it is all history. A documentary on his life reveals everything there is about the guy once dubbed as "The Singapore Beckham".

"I just finished shooting the documentary last month. It is about me, my growing up years in the Middle East, the match-fixing, everything.

"It will be shown worldwide by the end of the year or early next year."

"Losing both brothers was tough for me and my parents. The things my parents went through affected me and my family. However, it puts things in perspective, that is, to love life.

"That's why I say I'm a survivor. I'm here to enjoy life because life is so short. It can be taken away from you very easily.

He adds: "That is also why I try to give my two little boys everything possible. I live for them now. They are my life.

"They are Mohammed Ali, 9, and Malek, 7. My youngest son is named after my teammate and best friend in Singapore, Malek Awab.

"I don't have a daughter. I think I was a good striker, hence my two boys," laughed Abbas.

His two boys go to Garden International School where Abbas has his own academy and is the head coach of the school's football team.

They are now on a break and have left for Sydney, Australia, to be with their grandparents. Abbas is joining them soon.

"Once a year, I travel to Australia. My contract with Astro has kept me very busy. I do a lot of work for Astro, including all the football shows, magazine shows and live games.

"I get a month off every year. This is when I go back to see my mum and dad, brothers and sisters," said Abbas who commentates for Astro Supersport.

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