Khalid Jamlus still has the no-nonsense, tell-it-as-it-is approach – a trait since his playing days with Perak FA, Selangor FA and the national football team.
He sat comfortably at the studio in Astro Arena as he answered every question during an interview with the sports channel.
Right after the interview, he obliged to some wefies before speaking to Twentytwo13. Smiles were exchanged but his unkempt beard, with patches of grey hair, told a different tale.
Khalid was once the poster boy of Malaysian football who courted controversies mainly through his rebellious-like attitude during his heydays close to two decades ago.
Today, at the age of 43, he is almost a broken man who has sold some 30 personal items and memorabilia of his successes and has even put up his 2002 Golden Boot award for sale for RM10,500.
“My children … looking at them, knowing that we did not even have enough money to buy milk for them. That was the turning point,” revealed Khalid, who has two daughters aged nine and seven and a son aged five.
“My wife, Zarina Zainal, was against the idea of selling my memorabilia. She knows how much they mean to me, to us. But after doing the maths, we just couldn’t afford it and I had to do it.
“Zarina works in human resources in a company in Klang. With just her pay alone, it isn’t enough to run the household. The burden should not be on her alone. As the head of the family, I must do something.”
Khalid has to date sold, among others, nine medals and over 15 jerseys.
“I’ll be selling more stuff. It’s not like I’m doing anything illegal. People don’t understand what I’m going through, what my family is going through. I’ve not been able to secure a job for the past three years because no one is giving me a chance to be part of football.
“This is just a temporary measure to get us past the next few months. Life has been tough. We almost lost the house. I’ve only got my bike while my car is still in the workshop as I’ve yet to settle the bills. It’s about prioritising and right now my children and my wife’s needs are the most important.”
Khalid admitted certain quarters have been critical over his move to sell such valuable items but others have been sympathetic. His plight has caught the attention of the Youth and Sports Ministry.
Khalid’s friend Kuzairy Abu Bakar runs Soccer Ace FC. Khalid makes some pocket money by coaching children at the football club in USJ over the weekend.
“I also help my brother-in-law promote his energy drink Forca but due to the Movement Control Order, everything has been put on hold and there’s been basically zero income.”
When asked if his ego has taken a beating as he now conducts weekend classes for kids, Khalid said: “It”s something you have to ask the team owners.”
“You should ask them why is a former international with a B licence in coaching, working with children instead of senior teams?”
Asked why he was “jobless” for the past three years, Khalid said he has not been given a chance to coach any team after he and the other coaches were forced to leave Police FA due to a change in the structure. The former striker was also part of Sime Darby FC’s coaching line up.
“I’m a qualified B licence coach. I’ve been asking around for a coaching gig, even as an assistant coach, but there’s been nothing. I’ve tried starting some businesses in the past but I’ve been disappointed by those who are jealous and envious of me.”
So are people afraid to hire Khalid due to his ‘attitude’?
“I can’t control what people think of me. But my former coach Steve Darby once told me ‘What happens outside is your life. I want you to perform in my team and I believe you are good player and you will help Perak FA’.
“I will also never forget what the late Karl Weigang once said: ‘Work your best on the field, follow my instructions and the goal will come’. These people placed their faith in me and I repaid them.
“To answer your question, if I am given a responsibility, I will do it. I’m not begging for sympathy. All I’m asking for is a chance (to coach). That’s it.”