MR YAZEEN Buhari has always been active in sports, particularly football, since his school days.
Not surprisingly, he has made sports his career. Giving up his bank job handling public relations, Mr Yazeen signed up for a sports administrator role with Sport Singapore, formerly known as Singapore Sports Council.
The 36-year-old is now a senior manager in the National Sports Associations Partnership department, which covers different sporting associations such as for football, sailing, rugby and basketball.
He supervises a team of eight to oversee the overall sports development and support mechanisms for the sports fraternity.
His work schedule means weekend duties and frequent travelling to regional and European countries. “This portfolio has given me priceless opportunities to interact with sports administrators locally and regionally,” he says.
He pursued sports management studies in Perth, Australia, in 2003, which comes in handy in his job.
The vibrant sports culture there inspired him to compete in inter-varsity football matches. He even played in the state league football tournament for two seasons with Lynwood Colts football club.
He also earned a Master of Business Administration from the University of Western Australia.
Mr Yazeen is also a referee certified by Fifa, the international governing body for football. “Sports teach athletes discipline, leadership and even composure. Sports gave me ample platforms to pick myself up and have a better go at any challenges in front of me. This surely can be applied to other aspects of life,” he says.
“I’ve learnt a lot as a football referee, too, where I put these values into practice almost every day at work,” he adds.
Last year, he gave up being a Fifa referee to concentrate on his full-time job, but he still volunteers as a referee assessor with the Football Association of Singapore to train youngsters.
He is fired up about the Government’s longer-term plans to give sports the biggest shot in the arm with the Singapore Sports Hub, which offers world-class sports programming and facilities, slated to open this year.
“With the system in place, opportunities and platforms for aspiring young athletes will become available like never before,” he says. “Along with other exciting developments under Vision 2030, sports in Singapore will be taken to the next level.”
Mr Yazeen, who became a father last year, is also keen to show his daughter the positive and holistic influence of sports. He is grateful for being able to achieve a work-life balance in his job.
He says: “On official weekend sporting appointments, I can sometimes bring my family along.
“This is something I appreciate greatly as I have always wanted my daughter to love sports,” he says.
He adds: “At times my plate overflows with work, but it all boils down to time management and priority setting.
“When the going gets too tough to handle, I always remember my wife’s words that the fruits of my labour will be all worth it in the end. I have come to realise that work is not work when you enjoy it.”