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Life-Changing Moment Resuscitates Participation in Walking Football World Cup

Catch Yusri's and the Singapore Team's interview on
Lensa Ramadhan on Wed 29 May 2019 at 8.30pm on TV Suria

A certain legendary Bill Shankly once said, “Some people think football is a matter of life and death. I assure you, it’s much more serious than that.”

The quote may be quite amusing to some people but there is a whole lot of truth to the statement for people who lives and breathes football.

A WaF4H (Walking Football4Health) member literally had to struggle with the breathing part, quite recently, when there was a health scare that had him re-analyze his lifestyle. He is none other than Mohammad Yusri Bin Mahmud.

A few months ago Yusri had to undergo a heart stent implant that reduced the possibility of the artery to be narrowed once again. He recalled the harrowing experience.

“A few months ago I experienced pain on my shoulders. Then suddenly, on the 17th of March, at 3.45 am, I felt burning sensations on my chest.”

“I took it easy because I used to have the feeling (sensations) and I have been monitoring what I ate for the past 3 years. However, even after eating the medication, the burning sensations did not go away.”

“My wife Junnaiza decided to bring me to Tan Tock Seng Hospital. I went to Accident and Emergency and they quickly did an ECG test. Immediately the doctor rushed me to the operating theatre. I could not believe it when I heard the news.”

“It was a very sad experience but I am so lucky that I am surrounded by my family, friends and WaF4H family that gave me moral support and motivation for me to move on. Thanks to them, they are the reasons that made me keep going till now,” the 49-year old enthused.

The doctors made it clear to Yusri that he had to stay away from fried food, oily food, food that contains a lot of salt. Regular exercise is a must. Basically the idea is for Yusri to change his lifestyle so that his arteries do not get narrowed again.

One of the forms of exercise that Yusri is very comfortable with is football. Due to injuries and his weight gain because of his time on the sidelines, Yusri was unable to be as active as what he could have been in his younger days. But football was something that he has always loved and it is an activity that he just cannot stay away from.

He said, “I am a grassroots member at Eunos CC and I heard of the Walking Football activity. Unfortunately I was not present during the launch so I got hold of my chairman and I passed my number to the person-in-charge.”

“After a while, I went straight to the Walking Football training field, approached one of the coaches and by the following week I was already with them for training,” Yusri recalled. (The 6th Season of Walking Football4Health will be at Ping Yi Sec School Field, Chai Chee every Sundays 4 to 6pm, commencing on Sunday 30 June 2019)

Eunos CC collaborates together with International Sports Academy and Edith Cowan University. The health research program, spearheaded by Adjunct Senior Lecturer and Academic Researcher Dr Dee Dee Mahmood under the Edith Cowan University Australia banner, aims to bring the community together through Walking Football.Singapore Team's preparations to the World Cup Walking Football in London,
29 May -3 June 2019 (About Walking Football4Health & Dr Dee Dee:

Little did Yusri expect that the program can bring him overseas to play football, such as the recent FAM's invitational AFC Grassroots Day Football held on 4th May in Kuala Lumpur and the upcoming Walking Football World Cup organized in England 1-2 June 2019.

Yusri placing his pass as Legend Footballer Dato' Soh Chin Aun looked on

The Division Manager will take a break from his managerial duties at a Pest Management firm and gear up to play against the likes of England, Spain, Wales, South Africa and Argentina.

He is excited by the prospect of playing against quality opposition in an overseas tournament, but he is also managing his expectations.

He said, “We are considered the underdogs. My goal is to win as many games as possible but even if we lose some games, we must remember that our intentions has always been to gain experience and a healthy lifestyle.”

Yusri trying to get past his opponents

“Looking at the teams, the team that is favorites are England because it is their home ground. They are used to the weather and everyone in their squad looks so fit. Nevertheless, we will give them a challenge,” Yusri promised.

It certainly has been quite some time ever since the health scare that took place in March. The father of 5, namely Rayyan Sufuwandy, Riyan Suhairy, Qistina, Qeelyssia Asyura and Qarlz Benzema, would do anything to see his children grow up into amazing adults that his father will be proud of.

Taking part in the Walking Football program is one big step for Yusri as he tries to lead a healthy lifestyle to provide well for his family.

So the great Bill Shankly feels that football is much more serious than life and death. For Yusri though, the grounded man that he is, football is a game that is played by many. But Walking Football is a lifestyle that he is currently enjoying. A lifestyle that will enable him to get the most out of life.

Written By: Shahrom Asmani 
(ex-football reporter for several magazines and newspapers).
This 39-year old Football Crazy Person has been in love with football ever since he attended Singapore National Team’s matches at Kallang Stadium in the roaring 80’s. Has been a goalkeeper for a good part of the decade for a variety of teams but joined WaF4H last year because of the team’s mission and values.

WaF4H (Walking Football4Health) does not only allow participants to play football, holistically, the team concentrates on various other aspects as well such as food, nutrition and personal well-being. Hopefully WaF4H can lengthen this writer’s career, be it in the football field or in the part-time writing arena as well.

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