Thursday, February 12, 2004
True football man
DELL was a soccer fan since he was just a schoolboy and naturally, it was
Matt Busby's side, Manchester United, that got him hooked on the game.
It was the great players like George Best, Bobby Charlton, Dennis Law
and Nobby Stiles who inspired him to become a footballer.
Of course, his elder brother Sadar Khan, a national player, also played
a part when Dell began training with the Sultan Sulaiman Club in Kampung
It was not long before Dell's talent, as a defender, was noticed and he
was selected to the Malaysian youth team in 1968.
The following year, he had already made the senior team and went on to
earn about 30 caps before a serious knee injury forced him out of the
Before he bowed out, however, he had the honour of being part of the
national team who helped Malaysia qualify for the first-ever Olympic
soccer tournament in Munich in 1972.
It was in 1971, in the pre-Olympics, in Seoul, that Malaysia booked
their ticket when they topped the group after beating South Korea, Japan,
Taiwan and the Philippines.
Till today, Dell still recalls the proud moment where he played in all
the matches except against Korea.
He still remembers how Syed Ahmad had headed in a cross from left winger
Looi Loon Teik to give Malaysia the solitary goal for the win.
But sadly, Dell was not on the plane to Munich because he suffered a
knee injury in the run-up training stint in Cologne.
He was among the six players from the pre-Olympics squad of 1971 who had
failed to make the trip to Munich for one reason or another.
The other five were goalkeeper Wong Hee Kok, defender Chan Kok Leong,
midfielder M. Kalimuthu and strikers Yap Eng Hock and Syed Ahmad.
That exclusion and his injury ended his soccer career prematurely when
he was 31.
While he concentrated on his police work after that, his love for sports
never deserted him.
In 1978, he was the secretary for the Royal Malaysian Police Sports
Council and in the 80s, Dell got back to being involved in soccer as an
official, when the former Mayor of Kuala Lumpur and president of KLFA, Tan
Sri Elyas Omar invited him to come on board the Council. He was then co-
opted into the FA of Malaysia disciplinary Board and in 1996 was made the
national soccer team manager where he took charge of the side that
featured in the 1997 Jakarta Sea Games.
Before that, he had already managed the boxing team in the 1978 Sea
In 1998, he was made the independent delegate in the FA of Malaysia.
Dell went on to assume the position of FA of Malaysia secretary-general,
taking over from Datuk Paul Mony Samuel in June 2000, a post which he
Dell has not only moved in ranks in the police force, but in soccer too,
where he progressed from a fan to a player and then official and
He is now regarded as a top soccer official in this region and is fast
gaining recognition in the world scene.