Monday, April 18, 2016

Farewell visionary, inspiration


By Tony Mariadass

Small town boy Datuk Seri Paul Mony Samuel shone like a beacon with a passion for football all his life, excelling as an administrator locally and internationally.
From Kuala Ketil, a small located between Sungai Petani and Kulim in Kedah, he stood out for going out of his way to help anyone - in football or otherwise.
His fame at the highest level of football – Fifa – did not change the humble nature willingness to help those sharing his passion for the game.
Being a teacher from 1967-1979, gave him the perfect foundation in his world of football to impart his knowledge in the game and make an impact.
Paul may have given impression of a strict person who was unapproachable, but he was a gentle giant and with heart of gold. He never turned anybody away.
Yes, he always wore a stern look and hardly smile but that was because he was meticulous person and a stickler for discipline.
He was a no nonsense man. He was a workaholic that many would think his office was his home.
Those who crossed Paul’s path will attest they had benefited from his knowledge, generosity, willingness to guide.
The Malay Mail FC (MMFC) were among the many who have benefited from Paul’s compassionate heart.
The newspaper  team played in the Kuala Lumpur league in the late 80s and progressed to become the first club from the Klang Valley to qualify for the M-League Premier II in 2000.
It was a long road for MMFC but what put them on the path to seek excellence was Paul’s gesture to offer to play in the inaugural Philippine Cup in Iloilo and Bacolod City in 1991.
The invitation was sent to FA of Malaysia, but Paul who kept tabs of development of almost all teams in the country – be it is small village team or state team – must have seen something in the newspaper team.
We took the offer and went to Philippines with some assistance from Kuala Lumpur FA who loaned a few of their junior players to strengthen our team.
The rest was history. MMFC reached the final defeating the Cambodian national team in the semifinals and played the Chinese Taipeh team in the final, only to lose by a solitary goal. We went on to play in two other Philippines Cup and till today have a long standing relationship with the football cities of Iloilo and Baclold with veteran teams now making regular visits.
That exposure set the path for MMFC not only play in the Premier League, but saw almost 200 players pass through the team with many going onto to play for states and other clubs, national junior and national team.
MMFC folded in 2004 for because of financial difficulties.
It was memorable journey with rich experience and embracing the game in the best possible way. 
Thank you Datuk Seri Paul for giving us experience which all those who embraced will cherish and treasure for the rest of their lives.
MMFC is probably on e of the thousands in the Malaysian football fraternity who benefitted by Paul’s touch.
While he helped small clubs and village teams, the same man reached the pinnacle of world football in his journey from a teacher to football coach to general secretary of FA of Malaysia, Asean Football Federation and Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and then making his mark at Fifa. 
His involvement in four World Cups, must surely be an icing to his illustrious football career. 
His leadership, administrative and logistical skills saw him successfully manage the World Cup in the USA (1994), France (1998), Korea/Japan (2002) and Germany (2006).
Fifa valued his knowledge and services and was recognised as a very reliable instructor, serving on its panel of instructors from 1991 to 2007.
He conducted FUTURO I and II courses throughout the world and wrote the first administration book for FIFA in 1988.
At 71, it was too early for him to pass on.
But he leaves behind a legacy which is unmatched.
Paul’s wife, Datin Seri Kristine and Andrew his son, 24, can stand proud of his achievements, although the loss will be a difficult to accept.
Rest in peace dear Paul. You will always walk tall.
The funeral service is today at his home - No 4, SS 3/94, 47300 Petaling Jaya and then proceed for burial at Subang Lutheran Garden


Datuk Windsor John Paul (Asian Football Confederation general secretary)
Great teacher, administrator and good human being. Integrity, hard work and 100% commitment to the given responsibility. Task master with a heart of gold. Attention to details and loved finding solutions and not talk about problems. He gave his life for football with no time for family or himself.

Datuk Peter Velappan (former Asian Football Confederation general secretary)
It is indeed a sad moment for a distinguished football figure like Datuk Seri Paul Mony to pass away after a long illness. I brought him from Kedah to work in Kuala Lumpur and to be trained as a football coach and administrator. During his term as general secretary of the Football Association of Malaysia, he developed to be an able administrator and a very good planner.
He was then brought to the Asian Football Confederation to succeed me on my retirement. Unfortunately Paul did not last long because of illness. Paul also helped FIFA in the organization of the World Cups, FIFA tournaments, and coaching and administration courses. He was well respected by the football world and he will certainly be missed. May God bless him in his next world.
Chow Kwai Lam (former national and Barcelona Olympics squad coach)
It was a sheer delight and joy to work under Datuk Seri Paul Mony’s administration. He was a true professional and his work ethics made saw everything move so smoothly. He was a great administrator which we will probably never see another in his calibre.

S. Subramaniam (former Kuala Lumpur coach)
A very good man who was very knowledgeable of the game. He was an excellent administrator because he understood the game very well. He was a qualified coach having graduated from the 3rd Asian Football Coaching Course. His passion for the game and the importance he placed on grassroots development saw many of his programmes stand out not only in Malaysia but Asia. I owe a great deal to him because he guided me all the way.

Datuk Santokh Singh (former national player)
He was a great secretary general and football was his love of his life.

Datuk Fauzi Omar (former sportswriter and Malay Mail Editor)
The thing that struck me most about Dato Seri Paul Mony was his passion for the sport. He devoted his entire life to it. If you knew Paul like some of us did, then you'd know that there was nothing else in his life except football. And what a good job he did as a football administrator. And Malaysian football benefited so much from him. RIP my dear friend..."

Tony Francis (former NST, Malay Mail Sport Editor and Malay Mail Editor)
As far as sports administrators go, Paul Mony was among the best. He was a gentleman and a scholar. It was an honour to have known him.

Lazarus Rokk (former NST Sport Editor)
To me, Paul was the ultimate football administrator, a man who lived his life for football, and did it with unparalleled devotion, conviction, and even perfection.
"But sadly, the very sport that gave him great pleasure, honour, and accolades, was sadly the same sport that eventually took his life. The stress and the politics that came in waves left him physically and mentally incapacitated, in his final years preceding his sad passing.
"There was another side of Paul that not many would have known. He had a giving heart. He had a heart for the downtrodden, and never once turned away anyone who sought his help.
"The football world will miss a great administrator, and his family and friends will miss a great man. One who lived true to his ideals and principles."

George Das (former NST Sport journalist)
 Paul was one of the finest sports administrators in the world .He went the extra mile in whatever he did and was a stickler for efficiency.
Above all he was a very humble human being and I'm glad to have known and worked with him. Malaysia will never produce another like him.
He was an icon in the world of football.

He authored a book on football administration which FIFA used in various countries throughout the world.
Paul believed that for any country's football to prosper and improve, there should be a very strong grassroots development programme.
Paul was one of the finest sports administrators in the world. He went the extra mile in whatever he did and was a stickler for efficiency.
Above all he was a very humble human being and I'm glad to have known and worked with him.

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