This article was written 14 years ago.
|Headline :||KL walk down memory lane|
|Byline :||By Tony Mariadass|
KUALA LUMPUR relived their glory days last night when the cast of their greatest team in history held a reunion with Czech Dr Josef Venglos at a hotel in the city. Venglos, hailed for building up the great KL team that swept three consecutive Malaysia Cup from 1986 to 1989, is in KL to conduct an Asian Football Confederation coaching course. Fandi Ahmad and Malek Awab, both who turned out for KL then, flew in from Singapore for the nostalgic gathering. The reunion of the legendary team, which was their first, was the result of a joint effort by former KL coach Chow Kwai Lam, former KLFA president Tan Sri Elyas Omar and a few other officials. The players who were there to share heroics were Rashid Hassan, Mohamad Noor Basri, M. Pavalamani, Razip Ismail, Tang Siew Seng, Chow Siew Yai, Serbegeth Singh, Kamarulzaman Yusof, See Kim Seng, Nasaruddin Mat Din, Ramlan Askolani, S. Balachandran, Subadron Aziz and Hashim Marman. The others who could not be present were Mat Zan Mat Aris, Saidin Osman, Lim Teong Kim and Nazim Din. The other member of what used to be the greatest team in the land was the late Mohamad Zaid Jamil. Among the officials present were Dato Seri Mohamad Noor Abdul Rahim (former KLFA vice-president), Raja Datuk Seri Abdul Aziz Raja Salim (former KLFA deputy president and team manager), Low Lee Cheng (former KLFA vice-president), Goh Ah Chai (KLFA treasurer), coaches S. Subramaniam, Kwai Lam, Hamzah Hussein, team doctor Gurcharan Singh and physiotherapist K. Prabaharan. Ashwin Singh - the son of Gurcharan - who as a toddler, was the team mascot then, and now 15 years old, was also present. "KL has become my second home. I have enjoyed working with KL especially under the guidance of Tan Sri Elyas, who was responsible for the rise of KL soccer," said Venglos, who after his stint KL, coached Czechoslovakia to the World Cup. "And meeting the players almost 15 years after is like being with the team again. These players were a great bunch and seeing them today has really made me very happy." Venglos then went on to talk about the many trips that the KL team made to Europe for exposure and the invaluable experience gained made them among the best teams in Asia. "Infact, from my stint with KL, I learnt to be a better coach. I had a great group of people to work with, from Tan Sri Elyas to the coaches (S. Subramaniam, Kwai Lam, Hamzah Hussein) and the team manager (Raja Datuk Seri Abdul Aziz Raja Salim) and the players and everyone associated with the team." Elyas said: "Venglos certainly played a major role in the rise of KL from whipping boys to championship material, not only for one season but three," he said. "This is indeed a great occasion and to see all the officials and players together again reminds me of the many happy moments 15 years ago. "Some players now look like officials while some officials look like players. But today this certainly makes most of us feel 15 years younger," quipped Elyas. Elyas added that it was good to see that many of the KL players have made it in life after their playing days. Among the players last night were politicians, successful businessmen, coaches and soccer pundits. Serbegeth Singh, speaking on behalf of the players, said that it was the close relationship among the players and officials that made them a family, and leading to their success. "We were very lucky in the sense that we all gathered together as a team at the right place and right time and we had a great coach to mould us." As the present KL team brace themselves for a hard time in Premier One this season, it was yesterday once more for their team of the glorious past.