The life of a professional footballer is a disciplined one, requiring the player to commit their time and energy to a particular schedule which in a way sacrifices quality time with the family. Travel to away matches both locally and internationally constantly keeps the player away from his or her loved ones.
That is no different for Perak's captain Shahrul who is not only a lynchpin for his club side but also for the Malaysia national team. Just like his peers around the country, Shahrul is currently observing the Movement Control Order (MCO) that has been put in place by the Malaysian government to combat the coronavirus outbreak.
But rather than lament the temporary stoppage to his livelihood as a footballer, Shahrul accepts that the control is the right measure and instead is cherishing the opportunity to stay at home to be a husband and father to his young family in a period of the year where he is normally more engaged as a player.
"When we are competing in the season whether it is for the club or the national team, I don't normally get to spend a lot of time with my family at home. That is what I'm most looking forward to in these two weeks that we have to stay at home. It is nice to be able to spend more time with them.
"I've got kids and now we play a lot together. They are very young and active, so it's up to me to think of activities to do with them to keep them from feeling bored because we are not allowed to go out like we used to. I've got some equipments like treadmill and bicycle at home and I use that keep myself active," said Shahrul to Goal.
The 2020 season has been one that was going great for Shahrul prior to this forced break. Not only contributing with his work in defence, the 26-year-old has also come out with the goods in the other end of the pitch, scoring in the 3-1 win over Terengganu FC on the opening day of the season as well the 2-0 win over PJ City FC, both with his head.
Still unbeaten after four matches garnering two wins and two draws, Perak are currently sitting pretty in second place behind Johor Darul Ta'zim in the Super League standings and only two points behind. All the more reasons on a sporting level for Shahrul to be slightly frustrated with the turn of events.
But a break from training and competitive matches doesn't mean letting himself go completely during this two weeks. All the teams have sent out individual programs for players to do in their time at home and Shahrul has shouldering the responsiblity and discipline to adhere to those demands even away from the eyes of the management.
"What is currently happening isn't very ideal of course what with the season having already started later than usual. Then as a team as you can see, was starting to find our rhythm and getting into a good momentum after the four matches played before we had to stop. But it is what is it and we have to brace this and hopefully we're able to get back to the pitch as quickly as we can.
"We've been given weekly training schedule by the team and all of us are following that program at home on our own. The team checks in with us every few days to see how we are coping and what we have done. So in that sense, it is all going fine now. Hopefully when we are able to get back, we’ll be able to keep the momentum to at least stay where we are in the table," explained Shahrul.
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