S.League: Sevki stranded

S.League: Sevki stranded
Sevki Sha'ban (in Home United bodypaint) distributing pamphlets at an S-League fanfare event last year.

Two years ago, he celebrated getting selected to join the LionsXII squad that returned to Malaysia club competitions for the first time since 1994.

Now, former national defender Sevki Sha'ban finds himself fretting over how he is going to feed his family.

On Monday, Great Eastern-Yeo's S.League club Home United terminated his contract, without any compensation, for "underperformance and unsatisfactory work".

However, Sevki, 30, did not play a single minute of S.League football for the Protectors this season after falling out of favour with coach Lee Lim Saeng.

Home did not shed more light into the sacking, and responded to The New Paper's queries by saying: "All player and club matters are confidential and any relevant information will be shared at an appropriate time."

Sevki, a father-of-three, refused to comment on the Protectors.

He explained that he had more pressing issues on his mind.

He told TNP: "I never saw it (the sacking) coming. Of course, the main thing I'm worried about is my income. It's not good news to get just before Hari Raya.

"Thankfully, I've had the full support of my wife and family, who have encouraged me to stay strong."

The immediate future for Sevki looks bleak.

The S.League's transfer window was closed on June 27, meaning he is not allowed to sign for another S.League club until the end of the year.

The LionsXII are also unable to sign players ahead of the Malaysia Cup tournament as the Malaysian transfer window is closed, too.

TNP understands that Sevki is waiting on the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) to see if it can make an exception and allow him to sign for another local club before the end of the year.

FAS' marketing and communications director Gerard Wong said: "FAS is aware of this case between Home United and Sevki Sha'ban.

"The case will be going before the FAS Player Status Committee for hearing and adjudication. As such, I am afraid we are not able to comment further on this."

It has been a tough 18 months for Sevki, who has represented Singapore seven times.

He picked up an anterior cruciate injury in October 2012 which ruled him out of the Lions' triumphant AFF Suzuki Cup campaign two months later.

After leaving the LionsXII, he signed a two-year contract with Home United before the start of the 2013 S.League season, and made 14 appearances for the Protectors that year, including one in their 4-1 win over Tanjong Pagar in the RHB Singapore Cup final.

But he has since fallen down the pecking order at Home.

SOURED

Sources told TNP that his relationship with coach Lee soured to the point that, towards the end of his time at the club, Sevki was asked to sit out training sessions.

When the S.League's mid-season window opened on June 2, he was told by Home that he was free to leave, but it is believed that the defender was unwilling to take a significant pay-cut to join Hougang United.

Woodlands Wellington coach Salim Moin, who worked with Sevki when he was at Gombak United in 2006, said he is dismayed by what has happened to his former captain.

"Sevki is a very dedicated, quality leader and he's a responsible person," said Salim. "He's always early at training and always gives his 100 per cent in training and games.

"He's not someone you think would give you any problems, so I'm very shocked Home terminated his contract."

msazali@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on July 19, 2014.
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