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Health & Family Bonding Benefits in Walking Football

Written By: Shahrom Asmani (ex-football reporter for a few magazines and newspapers)

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 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. 


God knows how many other different activities I have tried. Rock climbing, camping, even calligraphy writing at one point in time.

But no matter how many times I tried to pick up other hobbies, I always gravitate towards my very first “crush”. Football.

Ever since Primary school right up to the ripe old age of 39, football is the only activity that I can eat, sleep and think about 24-7.

Imagine the disappointment two years ago when I realized that my body may not be able to take the pains of competitive 11-a-side football, let alone on a small futsal pitch.

The knees get a bit wobblier, the body takes a few days to recover and suddenly there’s creaking in every joint that you know of.

Thankfully, it was around the same time that a movement started in Singapore, led by Celebrity Exercise Physiologist and Edith Cowan University Associate Senior Lecturer Dr Dee Dee Mahmood.

Her vision is Walking Football4Health, a health through fitness empowerment that gets people to start moving and play football in a fun and friendly atmosphere, regardless of age or health condition.

Walking football was introduced by her to a small group of female players in 2017 as a research project to collect findings and present the health data to the Science community (see media coverage left).

Her success in the program enabled her to start a mens’ team last year and the rest, as they say, is history.

Not only has the movement gotten bigger in Singapore, the team has played many friendly exhibitions and international matches that had gotten widespread media coverage.

Walking Football4Health in Perth Australia 2018
Walking football can owe its success to the innovators at United Kingdom, who started the program for males over 50 to be involved in a community kickabout rather than living a sedentary lifestyle. The success it has garnered not only in UK, but in other parts of the world as well, has shown that male football players are not just about hanging their boots yet just because they are above the age of 40.

There are so many positives one can take away from such a program.

Take for instance Walking Football4Health (WaF4H) head coach Masazhari Yayit.

2006 was the year that Masazhari, better known as Kecik, got a big scare because he could not move his body easily after waking up one morning.

“The doctor told me that I had slipped disc and an operation could be 50-50,” Kecik recounted.

“However, he told me that since I was still quite young, I can start to exercise regularly and try to cut down on my smoking,” Kecik added.

Due to his busy work schedule, Kecik did not manage to find the time to exercise regularly. But thanks to Dee Dee’s guidance, advice and Kecik’s motivation to change his own lifestyle, the head coach is much more sprightly nowadays as compared to a decade ago.

Coach Kecik (right) and Malaysian Legend Soh Chin Aun Sparring in an International Walking Football Match in Malaysia

Another person who benefited from Dee Dee’s advice and program is none other than Masykur Abdul Malek, WaF4H’s other coach.

Masykur, a talented soccer player, suffered from cervical myelopathy, about a decade ago. The condition happens when the cervical spinal cord is compressed. He was not able to move, let alone walk properly.

However, after being treated by specialist doctors and undergoing a specialized rehabilitation program designed by Dee Dee, Masykur was able to participate in the Walking Football program last year. It was precisely because of Masykur that Dee Dee started walking football for health in Singapore and she appointed him as a Coach of the walking football team. International Sports Academy, our Partner in Health,  supported by sponsoring his Diploma in Sports Science, as also with Masazhari Yayit (Kecik). Masykur's mobility has improved tremendously under the watchful eyes of Dee Dee with walking football. Just last Sunday 4 Aug 2019, Masykur ran in small steps for the first time in many years. It is a celebration indeed for his road to recovery.

Coach Masykur Taking Part in a Scientific Research Fitness Test in Australia
It is pure coincidence that both Kecik and Masykur used to live very near each other when they were much younger. Family is a term that many teams like to use to describe how close the players are. WaF4H is literally a family because of the many connections each person may have with his or her fellow team mate.

Masuri Yayit

Kecik’s brother and sisters take part in the program. Masuri Yayit, Kecik’s elder brother, travelled to England to take part in the very first inaugural Walking Football World Cup.

Singapore represents in the World Cup Walking Football in London 2019

Kecik’s sister, Kasmawarni Yayit, is married to Zamri Ismail. Zamri also used to live near Masykur and Kecik; they played competitive football together when they were much younger.

Zamri’s daughter, Amilah Zayani, is the youngest participant at the age of 15 and has scored many winning goals.

Hamdi Bakri Going Against Malaysian Legend K Rajagopal

Masykur’s father-in-law, Hamdi Bakri, is the resident evergreen-player at the ripe old age of 71.

Hamdi’s 3 daughters - Huda, Hidayah and Hayati - are also part of the program and Faiz, their nephew is in the programme too.

Families in Waf4h Family

Everyone seems to be connected in one way or another, either they are someone’s cousin’s daughter or neighbour’s cousin. WaF4H, is literally a family.

WaF4H Family after FAM Match in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

WaF4H After a Hard Training Session

WaF4H After a Fitness Assessment Done at International Sports Academy (another one of the movement’s collaborators besides Eunos CC.)

Families of children in WaF4H Family

WaF4H Hosted South Africa Walking Football Team 2019

WaF4H’s Very First International Foray 
- with Paul Parker, Manchester United, England as The Referee

Always an Honour To Represent the Country


Just like in any normal family, WaF4H may have its share of ups and downs. It is a very positive and inspiring movement that have travelled the world to spread its message. So no matter what the obstacles are, WaF4H will always remain a tight-knit family. And whatever successes that we may have, we will still continue to play for good health and happiness always.

So what are you waiting for? Let's start walking and do some kicking.

Follow us on Facebook: Walking Football4Health for announcements on commencement of training

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