In honour of Mother’s Day, we shine the spotlight on Madam Samsinah Hassan, who has taken on the dual roles of both mother and father to our Sailor, Nur Muhammad Asis, since her husband passed away earlier this year.


Madam Samsinah Hassan appeared visibly nervous in front of the cameras, but she immediately relaxed when her son, Sailors midfielder Nur Muhammad Asis, asked her about his childhood.

“You’re actually a ‘gembeng’ (Malay word for crybaby) boy, you know?” replied the 52-year-old, as Asis looked on wistfully at her. 

“You used to cry over all the small things, so I was surprised to see how tough you are on the pitch… When the ball hits you or someone gives you a strong tackle, you just stand up and continue playing.”

Indeed, Asis has come a long way from being a ‘gembeng’ boy to becoming one of the most promising talents in Singapore football, as evidenced by his promising career trajectory thus far.

At the tender age of 19, Asis made his debut for the Sailors’ first team, showcasing his talent against Tanjong Pagar United in a Singapore Premier League (SPL) match in July 2023. Two months later, he was called up to represent Singapore at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Under-23 Asian Cup.

Following his completion of mandatory National Service at the end of last year, he became the first player from the Sailors Elite Academy to sign a professional contract with the club.

Now, Asis is set on establishing himself as a key member of Aleksander Ranković’s squad.

Elegant on the ball and boasting bags of technical ability, it is clear that Asis has the potential to achieve big things in the game in the future.

However, Asis’s talent in the game might not have been realised if it were not for the support of Mdm Samsinah, who initially took a while to come around to the idea but eventually backed his aspirations – both emotionally and financially – to become a professional footballer.

“Asis was really crazy about football since he was two years old, but I wasn’t sure about him pursuing it, as he was quite a small child, even when he went to Primary School. So, I thought I’ll just allow him to play football recreationally,” Mdm Samsinah recounted.

It was only after Sailors Academy Technical Director Luka Lalić – then a coach at Turf City Football Club – spoke to Mdm Samsinah to convince her of Asis’s talent that she relented, and allowed him to further his development in the game from seven years old onwards.

“Luka was really sincere, so I finally allowed him to go, even though it was far for us to send him from our house in Pasir Ris to Turf City a few times a week for training,” said Mdm Samsinah.

“He also went to Europe for overseas attachments a few times, which meant we had to fork out extra time and money for that. It was tough on us, but we happily did it because we wanted to support his dream.”

It proved to be the right decision, as Asis’s talent and potential became increasingly evident as he matured, garnering attention from European clubs such as Feyenoord and Galatasaray in 2016 when he was just 12. He then went on to join the Sailors Academy four years later, where he was reunited with Luka.

However, Asis’s life took a devastating turn earlier this year when his father, Mr Junaidi Karim, tragically passed away at the age of 55. This loss came just eight months after Mr Karim was diagnosed with Stage Four gastroesophageal junction (GOJ) cancer.

GOJ cancer is a relatively rare type of cancer that occurs where the oesophagus meets the stomach. It can significantly impact a person’s ability to eat and swallow solid and dry foods.

Mr Junaidi’s passing not only meant the loss of their family’s primary breadwinner, but also deprived Asis of his “biggest supporter and advisor” in life.

“His dad was always there for him… Whenever Asis came back from a game, his father would offer him advice on what he should or shouldn’t do, how he could improve, and so on. As for me, I may not understand the game as much, so I can only act as his cheerleader,” shared Mdm Samsinah.

Watching his once-rugged dad weaken day by day was a heart-wrenching experience for Asis, and it naturally took him some time to come to terms with the reality of his passing.

Asis, with two married sisters, has also had to step into the role of the proverbial ‘man of the family’, and assume the weighty responsibilities of caring for his mother.

“I’m the only son and guy in the family, so it’s only right that I’m the one taking care of my mum. I have to watch over her, make sure she’s well, and most importantly, make sure she’s not feeling too lonely. I want to ease her burdens as much as possible, and I’ve been trying to spend more time at home with her as well,” said Asis, who is now 20.

Similarly, Mdm Samsinah, a senior logistics coordinator at DHL, has taken on the dual responsibility of being both father and mother to her children following her husband’s passing. However, she acknowledges the near-impossible nature of this task.

“I’ve been trying to fill the void left by my husband, but I know there are certain things that I won’t be able to advise or help with,” she reflected. “So, sometimes I enlist the support of my son-in-law or brother-in-law to talk to Asis.

“I just want him to know that I’m always here to support him when he needs me, whether in football or in life.”