Football: Former Lions defender Amin dies

Friends and relatives praise Amin Nasir's fighting spirit both on and off the football pitch, as he continued coaching for Hougang United and then at FAS' Junior Centres of Excellence even as he battled his cancer.
Friends and relatives praise Amin Nasir's fighting spirit both on and off the football pitch, as he continued coaching for Hougang United and then at FAS' Junior Centres of Excellence even as he battled his cancer.TNP FILE PHOTO

Elder brother of ex-skipper Nazri Nasir succumbs after four-year battle with cancer

Former Singapore international footballer and Hougang United coach Amin Nasir died yesterday after a four-year battle with cancer. He was 48.

The older brother of former national captain Nazri Nasir, he leaves behind a wife, son and daughter. His son Ashrul Syafeeq, 23, is with S-League side Balestier Khalsa.

Amin - who played in defence for the Lions during the 1990s and was part of the team which clinched a SEA Games bronze in 1993 - was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer in 2012, but managed to beat the disease initially.

Two years later, while coaching S-League club Hougang, doctors discovered a cancerous 10-millimetre growth near his stomach and kidney.

However, Amin battled on and led the Cheetahs to seventh place in the league, and it is this fighting spirit which friends and family remember him by.

NOT GIVING UP WITHOUT A FIGHT

Doctors told him he had two years left but he managed to stretch it to four years. This shows the kind of fighter he is.

NAZRI NASIR, ex-Lions captain, on his elder brother Amin's determination.

Nazri, 45, said: "When he was first diagnosed with cancer, doctors told him he had two years left but he managed to stretch it to four years. This shows the kind of fighter he is.

"He was more than just a brother, he's also like a best friend and we always talk to each other when we have problems and try to encourage each other.

"The family is sad but we also could not bear to see him suffer any longer."

Former Lions defender Lim Tong Hai remembers the friendly rivalry he enjoyed with Amin as they battled for a spot in the starting line-up.

"What is good about him is that he is very competitive on the pitch but, off it, he's a great friend," said Lim.

"The fact that he continued coaching despite his illness shows the kind of spirit he has."

Australian forward Abbas Saad, who played for Singapore in the Malaysia Cup, said in a post on Instagram: "A very sad way to start the year with the passing of my friend and former team-mate Amin Nasir. A beautiful soul and a gentleman who touched all our hearts with his warm smile and positive attitude all the way to the end, reminiscent of his competitive days on the field."

Hougang also paid tribute to the tactician in a statement: "Amin Nasir was instrumental in establishing proper standards at Hougang United and had a distinct reputation amongst players for fairness.

"Hougang United mourns his passing and remembers his tireless contribution to the club."

At the time of his death, he was head coach of the Football Association of Singapore's (FAS) Junior Centres Of Excellence, club academies and Schools Football Academy.

A statement on the FAS website said: "Amin was determined to build a brighter future for Singapore football and had spent the majority of his post-playing years coaching young footballing talents.

"Through his passion and dedication, Amin mentored and developed many young coaches and emerging talents in the various age-group teams he had led over the past decade.

"On behalf of the Singapore football fraternity, we would like to extend our condolences to Amin's family. Our thoughts and prayers are with them during this difficult time."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 17, 2017, with the headline 'Former Lions defender Amin dies'. Print Edition | Subscribe