Singapore Premier League • October 10, 2014
Hyrulnizam: Injury Was A Real Setback
Written by: Phoon Jia Hui
He has always found first-team opportunities hard to come by and when Hyrulnizam Juma’at signed for Tampines Rovers at the start of the 2014 Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League season, he was determined to make the number one jersey his own.
Things were looking good for the 28-year-old as he got his wish. He was not only a reliable presence between the sticks, but also a regular starter under former coach Salim Moin.
However, the discovery of a growth on his right gluteal muscle forced him to put on hold his Tampines career.
“It started out as a lump but I just ignored it and played on until Thomas [Pang, Tampines’ sports trainer] tried to massage me and told me it was unusual so I decided to go for a MRI scan,” Hyrulnizam recalled.
Upon receiving the results that he had a tumour there, Hyrulnizam was in a state of shock.
Despite his state of disbelief, it was not his confused mind which prompted him to delay treatment for a few months.
Instead, it was a sense of duty to the club that Hyrulnizam put off surgery as he did not want to leave the team with just Ridhuan Barudin as the only goalkeeper in the S.League squad. Justin Pasfield had only joined the Stags much later during mid-season.
“When the results came out, the doctor told me that it’s not normal for sports injury and that’s why they recommended me to a tumour specialist,” the former Warriors FC custodian explained.
“I didn’t want to go [for surgery] in February itself, because I’d lose a few months [of playing time]. I mean, it’s better if I go early, but there’s only one keeper so I wouldn’t want to risk so I just played on until my last game against Home United [on May 18]
“Of course, it’s a risk because I dont know whether it’s cancerous. It’s risky because I never check if it’s cancerous [and I continued playing].”
It was at this point he admitted had a lot going through his mind, as he feared for his contract.
“I did a lot of thinking,” he said.
“During my recovery I’m thinking whether I’m going to stay in this club again or going to another club or would any club want me in this kind of situation. That was what was going through my mind.
“Of course it’s sad, I didn’t get to play past few months [after my injury] and I’ve been enjoying my soccer before that. As you can see, for the past few seasons I hadn’t really have a lot of chances and when times like these, it’s really for me to play and enjoy and it saddens me when something like this happens.”
Now fit and running again, Hyrulnizam completed his first full game for the Tampines Prime League team against Singapore U18s in a match they won 3-2.
While he eyes a spot in the starting line-up again as the Stags aim to mount a strong end to the season, he was aware that he has to work for his place.
“I mean I hope to play one or two but looking at the situation right now, it’s not ideal because they are fighting for the championship and I don’t think there’s any chance of me playing since Pasfield is in form right now,” he said.
“I have to go past Ridhuan first and then Pasfield. It’s not like I have to go past only Pasfield, I have to go past Ridhuan too.”
With the year-end AFF Suzuki Cup just round the corner, Hyrulnizam conceded his chances of making the Singapore squad was ‘virtually zero’. He however believed the goalkeeping scene was in good hands as competition is high with Hassan Sunny and Izwan Mahbud vying for that coveted spot at the biennial tournament.
“They are very good goalkeepers,” he asserted.
“Hassan has been tremendous this season for the national team [and Warriors FC], he has already showed how he played against Juventus and other international games. Izwan I think will be a good fight for the posts for the Suzuki Cup and I think these two are good enough for the country.”