Malaysians reaching out to help ex-football star now living on the streets

PHOTO: The Star/Asia News Network

PETALING JAYA - The plight of former international Salahuddin Che Ros is not being ignored after reports of the footballer sleeping on the streets tugged at the heartstrings.

The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) and also the Professional Football Players Association of Malaysia (PFAM) are now trying to alleviate Salahuddin's burden.

Salahuddin has to live in the streets whenever he comes for treatment at the Natio­nal Heart Institute in Kuala Lumpur due to his dwindling savings.

His heart condition worsened three years ago.

The Penangite had to seek shelter along the five-foot-way in Jalan Hang Lekiu.

FAM has been trying to contact Salahuddin in order to know his problems better and assist accordingly.

Its secretary-general Stuart Ramalingam said they were saddened by his plight.

"We got to know his situation from the media report and we want to meet up with him," Stuart said yesterday.

"We managed to get his phone number ... but each we tried to contact him, he's not answering.

"We believe talking to him direc­tly will be the best way to help him," Stuart said.

Meanwhile, PFAM will host a charity fundraiser football match for Salahuddin at the Eco Ardence in Setia Alam tomorrow.

PFAM president Rezal Zambery Yahya hoped that the match would be an eye-opener for the public on issues faced by former athletes.

"We hope to build a network with former footballers.

"We hope the charity fundraiser will be joined by corporate sectors and the public," said the former international.

PFAM chief executive officer Izham Ismail said that there were other cases similar to Salahuddin's out there.

"I believe not just footballers but all former national athletes are in dire financial situation after reti­ring from sports.

"I see financial literacy as something all athletes needed to be aware of.

"But for some it might be too late," he said.