Football: Former Lions star Noh Alam Shah pledges to help family of namesake struck by tragedy

Former national striker Noh Alam Shah was mistakenly reported to have died of a suspected heart attack on May 18, 2018. ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID

SINGAPORE - Former national striker Noh Alam Shah went through a gamut of emotions - jubilation, confusion, anger, and sadness - all in the span of one week.

Last Tuesday (May 15), the 37-year-old was elated after he was appointed assistant team manager of the national team. It is a post that will see him aid new head coach Fandi Ahmad at the year-end AFF Suzuki Cup.

But he ended the week having to explain to hundreds of concerned friends and family members that he was still alive and kicking.

The confusion arose after a former footballer with a similar name - ex-Woodlands Wellington player Nur Alam Shah - died last Friday (May 18) of a suspected heart attack.

It was later exacerbated when Malay-language news portal BeritaMediacorp erroneously carried an online article on Saturday afternoon reporting that Noh Alam Shah had died.

"When a few people called me on Friday, I understood the confusion because we have the same name," said Noh Alam Shah, when The Straits Times visited him on Monday (May 21) at Komoco Motors, where he works as part of its rental division.

"Then came the online article... That's when it became tough to handle."

The article has since been taken down, and BeritaMediacorp posted an apology to Noh Alam Shah and its readers on its Facebook page, adding that it had deleted the article "just a few minutes after it was published".

But many of its readers had already taken screenshots of the article, which were then widely distributed on WhatsApp.

Noh Alam Shah said that after the article was published and posted on BeritaMediacorp's Facebook page, he received calls non-stop and over 200 WhatsApp messages.

But most distressing to the former Lions forward, who scored 35 goals in 80 appearances for Singapore, was how it affected his mother and children.

"My mum broke down, because after she saw the article, she asked my sister to call me immediately, but I was not able to answer at that point in time," explained Noh Alam Shah.

"And when I was sending my two boys (aged 13 and 14) to their tuition class, they told me their friends at school had given them condolences because they had heard that I had died."

Noh Alam Shah said he tried to play down the matter with his two younger sons. He also has an 11-year-old daughter, and two children aged 16 and 18 from his first marriage who have migrated to Australia.

Noh Alam Shah said he has been in touch with BeritaMediacorp, but declined to discuss what his next step would be.

His immediate priority however, is to try and help the family of the late Nur Alam Shah, after it came to light that he had been trying to raise $120,000 for his four-year-old son Muhammad Royyan to have treatment for a rare heart defect he was born with, called Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS).

Nur Alam Shah, who was 38, had turned to fundraising platform Give Asia and had raised about half of the $120,000 needed for his son.

He had previously revealed that he had an infant daughter who suffered from the same condition as Royyan, and she was only five months old when she died in April 2008.

Noh Alam Shah said: "I didn't know the late Alam Shah, but all the attention should go to his widow and his child, not to me.

"Helping out would be the least I could I do."

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