Lions goalkeeper Hassan Sunny to donate money from China football fans to charity, Latest Singapore Football News - The New Paper
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Lions goalkeeper Hassan Sunny to donate money from China football fans to charity

While there has been much attention on Singapore goalkeeper Hassan Sunny, with China football fans flocking to his Muslim food stall in Tampines recently, the Albirex Niigata veteran is staying focused on the football ahead of him.

Just like how he rebounded from conceding seven goals to South Korea on June 6 to put in a creditable performance against Thailand five days later, Hassan wants the White Swans to get their Singapore Premier League campaign back on track.

They had suffered a 4-1 loss to Brunei DPMM in their last outing, which Hassan had missed out through suspension after being sent off in the previous fixture against Hougang United.

The 40-year-old told The Straits Times after a training session at the Jurong East Stadium on June 14: “This experience is a whole level of different, definitely unforgettable.

“Of course, it’s crazy to get so much support from foreign fans, some of them even flew in from China yesterday just to visit my stall. I feel touched by the support, but I must not get carried away by the attention. I have to stay focused on what I have to do as a professional player.”

China fans have been visiting his Dapur Hassan stall since June 12, a day after he made 11 saves in Singapore’s 3-1 loss to hosts Thailand in a World Cup qualifier.

His heroics prevented the Thais from getting the three-goal victory they needed to advance to Asia’s final qualification round, with China going through instead.

To show their appreciation to him, China fans have been transferring money via his stall’s QR code, which has been circulating online. But Hassan said he will be donating the money to charity as it does not belong to him.

He said: “Hari Raya Haji is coming and, in my religion, when I receive money that’s not mine, I have to donate and do my part for the community.”

He has also posted a message in Chinese on social media, urging fans to stop transferring money to him as scams have emerged using his image with fake QR codes.

Hassan also revealed he has been invited by several companies in China to give talks, but he will need to balance football with family first. 

Following the 7-0 loss to South Korea, several Singaporeans flooded social media posts to criticise Hassan, and he admitted he was aware of the comments.

“My family sent me comments such as ‘he’s too old’. I don’t welcome negative messages, but I use that as motivation for me to do better. I didn’t get bothered by it, I was still smiling the next day,” he said.

“Throughout my career, I always use this as reference: Win or lose, tomorrow is a brand new day.”

The veteran custodian is working doubly hard ahead of Albirex’s clash with bottom-placed Young Lions at the Jalan Besar Stadium on June 15.

“When I don’t get to play, just like when I was suspended (against DPMM), I do double sessions every day, even at this age, just to push myself to stay in the game,” he said.

“We have a young team, so it’s my duty to set a high standard for myself so the team can improve.”

Albirex coach Kazuaki Yoshinaga said Hassan’s focus has not changed despite the attention, adding: “We’ve improved both offensively and defensively during the international break. It’s great that all the players are ready.”

With Albirex having only three points from the same number of matches, Yoshinaga wants a win against the Young Lions, who showed positive displays in their first two games, but are reeling from the effects of a 7-1 thrashing by Geylang International in their last match.

The Eagles came out firing on all cylinders again, as they beat Hougang 6-2 at Jalan Besar on June 14.

In-form striker Tomoyuki Doi scored his second straight hat-trick, bringing his goal tally to eight in four games. Zikos Chua added a brace.

Faris Hasic scored an own goal, while Dejan Racic and Stjepan Plazonja scored for the Cheetahs.

BG Tampines v Tanjong Pagar (June 16, 6pm, Jalan Besar)

Tampines will look to extend their unbeaten start to four games when they host the struggling Jaguars, who are seventh, having played two matches.