Tribute to 'Spiderman'
Thursday, September 19, 2013 - The Malay Mail
IT will be 25 years come Dec 18 when charismatic goalkeeper Datuk R. Arumugam died in a car accident. But his achievements live on with a football tournament held in his memory every year.
This year’s one-day tournament, organised by Starbrite FC of Port Klang, the club that Arumugam formed in 1983 to unearth young talent, was held on Sunday at the SUK ground in Shah Alam.
Among the officials present at the tournament to honour Arumugam and his family were FA of Malaysia general secretary Datuk Hamidin Amin, FAM exco member and treasurer of FA of Selangor Datuk S. Sivasundaram, FAS secretary Rosman Ibrahim and Malaysian Indian Youth Development Foundation adviser Datuk R. Shanmugam.
Arumugam’s wife Datin Maria Selvi and daughters Subha and Rubha accompanied her husband Raja Perumal, were present at the prize-giving ceremony.
“It has been 25 years since the demise of Arumugam, better known to his fans as Aru, but he is still remembered for his services to Selangor and Malaysia.
He is a legend and shall remain the greatest goalkeeper Selangor ever produced for the nation,” said Sivasundaram, a close friend of Arumugam.
Arumugam played for Selangor for 18 years, and was capped 394 times. He capped 196 times for the national team in a playing career that stretched from 1971 to 1988. He is also the only Malaysian goalkeeper to have played for the Asian-All-Stars team twice, in Bangkok and Calcutta.
Arumugam made his national debut in 1973 in the World Cup qualifying round matches in Seoul, Korea. His greatest achievement with the national team was a bronze medal won at the 1974 Asian Games in Teheran. He also helped Malaysia qualify for the 1980 Moscow Olympics, which we boycotted.
The Port Klang-born custodian was known for the extraordinary length of his arms, web-like covering of the goalmouth and reflexes, which earned him the nicknames ‘Spiderman’ and ‘Cat’.
The Datuk Arumugam Memorial Cup tournament this year drew 16 veteran teams from Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Pahang, Penang, Negri Sembilan and Malacca.
Prakash Putra Pewira FC emerged winners after beating defending champions Pemuda Cheras 2-0. It was a close final between two champions (Putra Perwira won the tournament in 2011), but only one made their chances count by scoring a goal in each half.
Putra Perwira took home RM3,000 and Pemuda Cheras RM1,500 while Starbrite and Padu Bersih FC received RM500 each for finishing third and fourth respectively.
Other teams who competed were Saroja Rangers, Kelab Sukan Pandamaran Jaya, Pahang Mix-Veterans, Klang Star FC, Kampung Attap FC, The Malay Mail Veterans, Ex-Port Tamilians, Ex-Malacca State, Port Rangers, Penang Kickers FC, Sri Gangai FC and IRC Seremban.