LionsXII's Shakir Hamzah serving 4 days' detention for going Awol from NS

LionsXII's Shakir Hamzah serving 4 days' detention after being charged

Yesterday was the day he was supposed to complete his national service; instead, footballer Shakir Hamzah found himself starting a four-day stint in detention.

The LionsXII defender, 20, was handed the sentence after being charged with going absent without official leave (Awol) last month.

"Police NSF Special Constable Muhammad Shakir Hamzah was charged with one count of absence without official leave and one count of disobedience of orders," a spokesman for the Singapore Police Force confirmed.

The Straits Times understands that on May 17, Shakir left his work duties without the permission of his supervisors and travelled to Kuantan for a Malaysian Super League clash that evening between the LionsXII and Pahang.

He played the full 90 minutes of a match that finished 1-1.

Queries to the Football Association of Singapore were not answered by press time.

Originally scheduled to be honoured yesterday as ST's Star of the Month for May, Shakir is one of 13 members of the LionsXII's 30-man squad serving their NS.

The Straits Times understands that the Awol incident is not his first disciplinary problem. He also raised eyebrows after amassing over 100 days of sick leave during his period of service.

His misdemeanour could hardly have come at a worse time, with the player beginning to establish himself on the pitch.

His performances have been among the most consistent in the LionsXII ranks this season.

That impressive form at club level earned him a berth in new national coach Bernd Stange's first squad, but he was unable to travel for friendlies in Myanmar and Laos owing to NS commitments.

News of Shakir's detention came as a surprise to his LionsXII teammates. "As a player, I feel sorry for him," defender Baihakki Khaizan said. "He was just doing his part as a footballer."

Shakir is not the first local athlete to fall foul of his NS obligations. In 1999, then Singapore Armed Forces FC's Ahmad Latiff Khamarudin spent five days in detention after missing training.

Former national swimmer Jeffrey Su was fined $750 by the Ministry of Defence in 2010 for skipping 11 physiotherapy sessions at the Singapore Sports Council. Under the SAF's Sportsmen Scheme, he had been allowed time off his NS duties to train and compete.

fabiusc@sph.com.sg

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