He was at a loss for words as he tried to come to terms with the bombshell that was dropped on him.
Even after Gaye Alassane, 43, managed to compose himself, he was still in disbelief that he is set to be stripped of his Singapore citizenship by the Ministry of Home Affairs for being part of a global match-fixing syndicate.
He was served a Notice of Proposed Deprivation of Citizenship under Article 133(1) of the Constitution yesterday morning.
"I was shocked when I heard the news this morning and, of course, I felt terrible about it. I am lost, I don't know where my life is, I really don't know what to do now," Alassane told The Straits Times yesterday.
The Mali-born Singaporean was detained without trial in 2013 under the Criminal Law (Temporary Provisions) Act for his part in an international match-fixing syndicate which was created in and took root in Singapore. "I spent two years and three months in prison, and after I got out, I had to go and report to them (the police) once every month," said the former S-League footballer.
Alassane was released in January last year, but was placed under Police Supervision Orders (PSO) for a duration of three years. Persons placed under PSO are subject to conditions such as electronic tagging, regular reporting to the police, curfew hours and travel restrictions.
Alassane arrived in Singapore in 1993 from Malian club Batavia as a 19-year-old to play for Tiong Bahru FC in the now-defunct Singapore Premier League. The defender later played for lower-tiered clubs Wellington FC and Tampines Rovers before a solitary season in the professional S-League with Gombak United in 2000.
He obtained his citizenship under the Family Ties Scheme in 2003 through marriage with a Singaporean woman but was divorced some 10 years ago. His former wife, who shares custody of their two children - a 17-year-old son and an 11-year-old daughter - told ST that he is a good father who "is very involved in the lives of his children". She did not want to be named.
Alassane admitted to ST that he had done "those things", but insisted that he wanted to turn over a new leaf. "I sat in prison, and all I could think about were my two children and what I have put them through, what I am going through now and how I got here," said Alassane.
"I decided that I wanted to be a good man - I wanted to change."
His close friend and former Singapore international Bah Mamadou said Alassane was a changed man after he was released from prison.
"He was in a bad way when he went into prison, but he has changed now... He has started spending a lot of time at mosques. So, it is work, mosque and his kids - that is his life now," he said.
Mamadou revealed that Alassane is a part-time Uber driver these days.
"I am shocked to hear what happened. He has been punished for his mistake and he has changed - he deserves a second chance," said Mamadou.