Thursday, July 19, 2018



Hong Chin Football Club once the household name and pride of Selangor and Malaysian football in the 60s, 70s and early 80s – is celebrating its 50th anniversary in a big way this year.

Among the famous football clubs in the country, Hong Chin FC’s grand scale anniversary celebrations include a dinner which will be held on Saturday July 21

at the Oriental Pearl Restaurant at Bukit Jalil Golf & Country Club on Saturday.

Hong Chin was a unique football club because it was a community football based club, run by passionate and volunteers, who had to source for funds and most of the time contributed themselves.

The 50th anniversary organising committee secretary Michael Yei said 150 persons, including famous veterans and football personalities who made a name for themselves in the sport with Hong Chin FC, have confirmed their attendance for the dinner.

Among them include Datuk Santokh Singh, Datuk Dina Rizal, Yip Chee Keong, Abdullah Ali, John Engketesu, Peter Ambrose, Reduan Abdullah and many others.

Among the notable players who have come through Hong Chin include the likes of Lai Kok Kim, Tan Kim Meng, Khalid Ali, Reduan, Lim Hong Hock, K. Gunasegeran, Lim Then Guan, Engketesu, Peter Ambrose, Chan Chee Mun, Abdullah Ali, Yip Chee Keong, R. Subramaniam, Peter Rajah, Reduan Yunus and late Chow Chee Keong and Ong Yu Tiang. Many of them turned out for Selangor and the national team.

Last Saturday a Futsal tournament was organised at NPNG Sports Centre, as part of their anniversary celebration.

The Futsal tournament with the theme ‘Living in the Football Spirit’ saw
​4​0 veterans teams compete and another 15 veterans who came to support and cheer us on.

At the Futsal tournament - from right Michael Yei, Datuk Dina, Tan Kim Choon organising chairman, Yip Chee Keong, Datuk Santokh Singh and oldest particpant 76 year old Sucha Singh
 The youngest player was 46 years old and the oldest was 76 years.

For everyone's efforts and determination .....EVERYONE HAD TO BE A WINNER .....winner's gold medal was awarded to all - be it players or supporters.
“This year’s celebration event is the biggest to-date, although Hong Chin FC has had its annual gathering to come together to touch base, renew friendships and comradeship,” said Michael.

Hong Chin FC was officially registered in 1968 when funds were acquired to compete in the FA of Selangor League, although it was founded much earlier as a social club for the community of Brickfields. The club was formed to provide budding youngsters of the area a chance to become good footballers by harnessing their talent.

Hong Chin, which means ‘ever onwards’ in Chinese, was started by the late Charlie Tan and a group of friends from Scott Road, Brickfields (now known as Jalan Tun Sambanthan).

Charlie and his friends even rented a flat for their clubhouse (26A, Jalan Padang Belia – formerly Jalan Kandang Kerbau off Brickfields) facing the former Railway Recreation Club (RRC) ground (ear marked and sealed for a mega office complex 18 years ago but still remains sealed and no project upcoming) which was their home ground.

Hong Chin who started off as a small club, made giant leaps to become one of the feared teams not only in the Selangor League but also at the national club level competition (FAM Cup).

They won honours at the Selangor Dunhill League, invitational tournaments at the FAM Cup.

Division I match between Hong Chin and UMNO in 1970
Yei recalled his association with Hong Chin and football those days: “I grew up in the Scott Road/Jalan Kandang Kerbau (now Jln Tun Sambanthan) vicinity. My early days of playing football was on the Railway Recreation Club (RRC) field, the YMCA Field and the Jalan Chan Ah Thong Field. These were the three famous football venues in the Brickfields area. During those days, crowds used to gather around these fields practically every evening to watch football games under the auspices of the Football Association of Selangor (FAS).

“Monday, Wednesday and Fridays were Commercial League games whilst Tuesdays and Thursdays were for the Open League. The popular teams then were Sharpees (mainly comprising Indians) and Hong Chin (mainly comprising Chinese). The Railway and YMCA Fields were the place where these two were located. The Chan Ah Thong Field was where Datuk M. Chandran and Datuk N. Thanabalan were the stars.”

Other famous fields and associated with clubs include the Pudu field which was used by Selangor Recreation Chinese Club (SCRC), Selangor Indians Association (SIA) using the Kampong Attap ground, UMNO and Sultan Sulaiman Club at Sultan Sulaiman Club Kampong Baru ground, Railway Recreation Club at the Ipoh Road  and Sentul Pasar ground, Tamilian Physical Culture Association (TPCA) using Stadium at Kampung Baru, JKR using the Cheras ground and Royal Sealangor Club using the current Dataran ground to name a few fields.

“The RRC Field was the main field where many matches were played and it was “home” for Sharpees and Hong Chin. Hong Chin were in Division One whilst Sharpees were in Division 2. I began my footballing days playing for Sharpees and subsequently, the late Charlie Tan approached me to join Hong Chin.”

Charlie was largely instrumental for opening Hong Chin to receive players from other races. Hong Chin slowly but surely saw more and more Indian and Malay players. Then there was the period when we had an influx of players from Victoria Institution led by our able captain, Tan Kim Chuan and others like Indran, Dinabandu (Datuk Dina Rizal now), Michael Yap and Yap Kian Fui.

Hong Chin over the years from their humble beginnings at the Brickfields Railway Recreation Club (RRC) ground, went on to play their Premier Dunhill League matches at the Merdeka Stadium, TPCA, Kajang Stadium and Klang Stadium and then FAM Cup at State Stadium.

“We would not have had a history if not for Charlie in particular and his friends. All of us owe much to him. Infact if you mention Hong Chin, you must mention Charlie, and if you talk about Charlie, you have to talk about Hong Chin,” said organising chairman of the anniversary celebrations Tan Kim Chuan.

“We had the likes of Sandy Ho  Schwazenbeck) who sponsored all the jerseys, shorts, socks for the team then and friends like Dennis Raj and Tan Lip Peng to name a few. The team owe to all these people including many ex-players who came back to support the club with their generosity.”

The loss of Charlie in 1993 due to illness, saw the club started facing one problem after the other from losing their training ground, financial woes and players choosing to play for more illustrious and richer clubs and playing for their employers.

While Paul Tan (Charlie’s brother) took helm of the club after the demise of Charlie tried to keep the club afloat, it was difficult times as their only private football club then in existence.

Hong Chin at one time even nearly had to vacate their club house due to non-payment of rental but timely intervention from one of their former players – Gopi Vellachan - and a few long-time supporters managed to solve the problem.

While the old-timers are fighting hard to keep the legacy of Hong Chin alive with a veteran team and their annual gathering, the club now does not have a clubhouse.

But the name ‘Hong Chin’ is still kept alive by team manager Vijiyan Veloo who manages the team and is trained by N. Kananpathy at Taman Megah in Petaling Jaya three times a week and play in the Selangor Division One league.

They may not have top players in the team, but the legacy and true to its name "Hong Chin (Ever Onwards) it is still alive after 50 years!

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