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Why Singapore’s Football Star Hassan Sunny Is So Popular In China Right Now

Why Singapore’s Football Star Hassan Sunny Is So Popular In China Right Now

Singapore’s Hassan Sunny started his career in professional football in 2003 when he was just 18 years old.

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Singapore national football team goalkeeper Hassan Sunny, 40, gained many Chinese fans after he made 11 saves during the 2026 World Cup Asian qualifier game between Singapore and Thailand on 11 June.

His actions helped China to advance to the next round of games, keeping China’s World Cup dream alive.

As a show of gratitude, many Chinese football fans thronged his family’s food stall, Dapur Hassan, in Tampines.

Some of them also transferred money via the stall’s Alipay account after netizens shared the QR payment code online.

Hassan, humbled by the support, implored fans via an Instagram post written in Chinese to stop sending money due to scammers tampering with the QR code.

Hassan said he would donate the money to charity, saying “I know it’s not my money.”

His decision to donate the excess funds drew praise for his kindness. Singapore’s President Tharman Shanmugaratnam praised Hassan’s “spirit of compassion and sharing.”

His fans from China also watched the 2024-2025 Singapore Premier League match between Albirex Niigata (S) and Young Lions on 16 June, in which he participated.

After the game, Hassan flew to Shanghai at the invitation of real estate firm CapitaLand. Due to his overnight fame, his family were mobbed by fans during their family Hari Raya Haji holiday in Shanghai.

Hassan continued to make appearances at three CapitaLand malls in Shanghai and visited a children’s football club HiKicker Youth FC.

How did Hassan Sunny start his career in professional football?

In an interview with a Chinese Muslim food vlogger, Hassan shared that he started his professional football journey in 2003 when he was 19 years old, marking 21 years in the industry.

Over the years, Hassan managed to establish himself as one of the best goalkeepers in Southeast Asia history.

He started with Geylang United from the National Football Academy in 2003, where he quickly earned the S. League Young Player of the Year nomination for his confident performances and ability to pull off blinding saves.

The next year, he joined the new team called Young Lions with three other players. He’s part of the NFA Gang of Four, which include Baihakki Khaizan, Shahril Ishak and Khairul Amri, as they have played together since they were teens.

After completing the National Services in 2006, Hassan rejoined Geylang United and became the main choice goalkeeper at the club.

In 2008, he joined Geylang International’s bitter rivals, Tampines Rovers. He helped the club to win the 2011 S.League and the 2011 Singapore Community Shield at the end of the season.

In December 2011, Hassan joined the Warriors FC (formerly known as the Singapore Armed Forces Football Club).

He would make his AFC Cup debut against Indonesian club Semen Padang in a 3-1 lost on 5 March 2013.

Despite the poor performance, he helped the club win the league title at the 2014 S.League season. He became the first goalkeeper to win the S.League ‘Player of the Year’ award in 2014.

Trying out professional football abroad

Hassan joined Army United for the 2015 Thai Premier League season, emerging with a 1-0 win against the Royal Thai Navy.

British newspaper The Telegraph placed Hassan 18th in their list of top 20 goalkeepers worldwide in 2016, alongside top goalkeepers such as Petr Cech, Manuel Neuer, and David De Gea.

After his release from the Thai club, he joined Home United on January 2017 and was named the club captain for the 2017 season.

On February 2017, he linked up with Japanese third-tier (J3) club Gainare Tottori to get a taste of professional football in Japan.

After the end of the 2017 season, Hassan joined various clubs such as Army United and Lion City Sailors, and also played in various leagues.

In December 2022, Hassan signed a two-year contract with Albirex Niigata Singapore. His contract was extended for another year in 2023.

Hassan winning the 2023 Singapore Premier League title made him the first and only player in the league history to win league titles with four different clubs, leading him to win the Golden Gloves with 9 clean sheets in the league.

In the interview, he shared some of the footballers he looked up to which included former Danish goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel and German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer. Neuer currently plays for FC Bayern Munich and is considered the top goalkeeper in the sport.

He added that he liked spicy food and was also recommended to try Lanzhou beef noodles (mee tarik), a halal food favourite among Chinese Muslims in China.

When asked if he has plans to franchise his restaurant in China, Hassan said it’s not easy to open a food stall abroad but will take the opportunity if it arises.

@eatai786 Interview with Super viral Singaporean Goal Keeper, @Hassan_Sunny🇸🇬 who become very famous now in China. That spirit, Calmness, humbleness comes from this muslim brother, are inspiring. Let’s talk about his career, favorite player, food, future plans etc. Motivational! #eat爱 #chinesemuslim #football ♬ 原声 – EatAi亦太(HalalFoodie)

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