Veteran footballer takes overdose

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 09 April, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 09 April, 2009, 12:00am

Former footballer of the year Tam Siu-wai was in stable condition in hospital last night after taking an overdose of pills.

The long-serving First Division footballer, who was honoured as Hong Kong footballer of the year when he was playing for Hong Kong Rangers in 1995, was found by his mother looking sick in her home in Nam Fung House, Nam Shan Estate, in Sham Shui Po at 3.30pm, a police spokeswoman said.

Tam, 38, was taken to Caritas Medical Centre where his condition was stable last night.

He said he was suffering from relationship and financial problems that involved a debt of HK$200,000. He said he had taken more than 10 sleeping pills.

The attacking midfielder had been at Fourway Athletics as a player and assistant coach since July last year, but his contract was terminated a month ago, before the season ended, said Fourway director Philip Lee Fai-lap.

Mr Lee described his departure as a 'peaceful separation'.

The club director said it was Tam who decided to leave the club. He said Tam was frustrated by his problems fitting in with the First Division club dominated by younger footballers, adding that the termination affected his emotional state.

Mr Lee said the news of the overdose came as a shock.

Tam started his footballing career as a professional when he joined Lai Sun.

In his time at Eastern from 1991 to 1994, when he started to shine, the team secured the championship of the Hong Kong First Division, the Hong Kong FA Cup and Hong Kong Senior Shield.

His career peaked when he joined Rangers in 1994 with a record footballer's annual salary of over HK$1 million.

He was honoured with the footballer of the year award in 1995.

The veteran midfielder continued his career with Instant-Dict, Buler Rangers, Sun Hei and Kitchee, where he had stayed for four years until he joined Fourway Athletics.

He was also a significant member of the city's team in international matches.