Thursday, June 20, 2019

A KICK FROM THE PAST



Collapse of Malaysian Football League imminent?

Stand first:
Malaysian football has gone professional for 25 years after an initial five years of Semi-Professionalism.
But it is still struggling to be managed well and constantly encountering problems, while is stifling the growth of Malaysian football standards and currently have reached a very low ranking in the world football.
Is there hope for Malaysian football and what needs to be addressed?

By Tony Mariadass

Malaysian football needs an urgent revamp and stern actions need to be taken to safe the game.
This is the opinion of two former administrators of the game of two different eras of Malaysian football.
Bluntly put, they feel that it requires cruel actions to be kind to Malaysian football.
Former secretary-general of FA of Malaysia, Datuk Dell Akbar, said the problem has to be looked into in totality and one or two reasons alone cannot be pin pointed for the state of the Malaysian League.
“Looking at the woes of Malaysian football many will be quick to point the ‘dole mentality’ of State FAs and clubs who depend on subsidy to manage their teams,” said the secretary-general from 2001 to 2005.
“But how much is the subsidy in terms of the whole expenditure of managing their respective teams,” asked the former international.
“I would say the subsidy would cover 10 to 20 percent of their expenditure depending on how much they spend on their team and their team’s status in the League. Teams would spend about RM10 million to RM50 million.
“Thus, it would be unfair to blame them to say they depend solely on subsidies to manage their team and that’s why they run into problems like late or non-payment of wages to name one.”
Dell said most teams are running at a loss every season.
Dell said there are other factors like sponsorships had to come by these days, poor management, over ambitious in securing local and foreign players and many other factors which sees teams get into trouble.
“Only a handful of teams can manage well.”
Dell agreed that many revamps have been done over years and yet the right formula for Malaysian football has not been derived.
“But after so many years and so many trials, I strongly feel that another brain storming session is in order. This time it has to be a do or die mission and drastic measures need to be taken with all stakeholders coming with an open mind and decide on the best solution.”
Dell said among the areas that need to be addressed include:
·        To allow only teams who have the financial capabilities to manage a team and with all infra structures in place.
·        To look into ways to improve the gate collections
·        To get corporate companies to adopt teams on a long term basis
·        To decide on a manageable number of foreign players or even consider if we need them at this stage
·        Review salaries for players
Dell added that if need be to reduce the number of teams in the Super League to maybe 8 and send the rest to play in the lower division and only admit them when they ready and sound financially and meet all the criteria.
“I know there are licencing rules in place for teams to qualify to play in the League, but we still have problems. Probably it needs more tightening and stringent enforcement of the criteria.”
While the vision of MFL is to make football a pride of the nation once again, and to transform Malaysian football is centred around 4 key pillars; competitive matches in all competitions, positive commercial growth, strong partnerships with stakeholders and increasing professionalism as well as integrity in team and league management, somehow the end results is left much to be desired.
In fact, ever since the Semi-Pro days, 30 years ago, all these visions and requirements have been drained to State FAs and clubs’ year in and year out through seminars, but nothing seems to have changed with most.
Another administrator from amateur era of Malaysian football, Datuk S. Anthonysamy, said that teams were better managed in the amateur days than the present professional era.
“We were more prudent in the yesteryear because funds were difficult to come by. Yes, our expenditure in terms of salaries was way much less, but we still had to managed the team and paid out allowances, bonuses, team’s travelling expenditure, victory overseas trips and many others,” said the 84-year-old Anthonysamy who was FA of Selangor secretary from 1974 to 1993 and was involved in various capacities with FA of Selangor and FA of Malaysia for 30 years.
“I strongly feel drastic measures need to be taken to put Malaysian football back in track.
“Teams need to manage within their means and work hard to get funds to manage their teams. If they cannot get the finances, they should not get involved in the professional league. They should confine themselves to the semi-pro or amateur league.
“State FAs also have to come to terms that it is not their right to play in the professional league, but earn their right instead.”
Anthonysamy said that although it is a professional era, the gate collections which was a main source of income, has dwindled over the years.
“State FAs and clubs need to address this situation. The foreign players were supposed to bring in the crowd but more often than not many problems have risen with the presence of the foreign players and many are sub-standard players.”
Asian Football Confederation (AFC) general secretary, Datuk Windsor Paul John however felt that the FA of Malaysia is trying their best, but the State FAs and clubs have to do their bit to ensure that everything is in order.

“The FA of Malaysia can come out with the best plans and formula, but the execution part is most important for success and this is where the stakeholders have to stand up and be counted,” said Windsor.
“FA of Malaysia under president Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin has a strong vision for Malaysia football, but he needs the support of the affiliates to make it happen.
“Maybe some changes need to be made and it is about time Malaysian football got it right after being one of the pioneer FAs in the region to have gone professional.”
Indeed, it is long overdue for the Malaysian professional league to make its mark and the time has come to get it right once and for all and make the news for the right reasons.

Background to Malaysian football  
Malaysian football has a long history dating back to 1825 when British occupied Malacca and the troops brought football with them.
While it took a slow start, eventually in 1905, the Selangor Amateur Football league was formed and competition held.
The interim Selangor Football Association was only formed in 1926 when the need for a controlling body was imminent but only officially took control of the game in Selangor in 1936 when they were officially formed under the name – Football Association of Selangor.
Reference to Selangor is necessary because it was the first formed football association but in 1921 a new interest was created which was the foundation of the steady progress of the game until present day.
In 1920, the officers and men of the battleship HMS Malaya, which was in Malayan waters, played football and rugby matches against the local population and decided to commemorate these events by presenting the Cups for the annual competitions in Malaya.
Selangor Club, which was the then the most active in both games. Was delegated the task of forming a committee to run both competitions and out of which was born the Malaya Cup committee which staged the first tournaments in 1921 and continued till 1932.
The Malaya Cup football competition had aroused great interest throughout the country and the formation of state football associations was a natural development. Soon after 1921 Selangor, Perak, Negri Sembilan, Malacca and Johor formed state associations and together with Singapore they were the first contestants in the Malaya Cup football tournament.
Later, the Services began to enter separately and Pahang, Kelantan, Terengganu and Perlis formed their own associations and entered the competition after the second world war with 15 teams competing.
The Football Association of Malaya was sole authority of the competition.
Then the Malayan Football Association, was hastily formed in 1926 in order to field a Malayan team against an Australian side which visited Singapore that year and existed in the shadows for six years, before emerging as a more active form as Football Association of Malaya, which in 1933 had absorbed the Malaya Cup committee for football and thereafter took over the responsibility of for running the football competition.
After the second world war, the FAM was reorganised on a sounder basis in 1947 and entered upon its early years of golden era when Tunku Abdul Rahman was elected president in 1951.
Since then, Malaysian football has undergone many phases of changes in competition format and the management of the game.
The most significant being the game going semi-professional in 1989 launched by the late Sultan of Pahang as president of FAM with the present Agong, Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah Sultan Ahmad Shah, who was the Semi-Pro Committee chairman.
Then in 1994 saw the birth inaugural Pro League.
Again in the 25 years of professional football, it was undergone many changes in format, composition of teams – where club teams have joined the fray and the management of the competition.
The current being the Malaysian Football League (MFL) – formerly known as Malaysia Limited Liability Partnership (FMLLP) - which was created with the aim to privatise the Malaysian professional football leagues. MFL operates and manages 5 entities which includes Super League, Premier League, FA Cup, Malaysia Cup and the Charity Shield.
  

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Scout For Young Talents, FAM Urged



By Tony Mariadass
Ex-internationals are ever ready to become talent scouts to help Malaysian sports have a wider base of talent to select from, but are looking for a platform to offer their services.
Several ex-internationals upon reading NST Sports story yesterday – Talent Sadly ‘Lost’ – responded that it was the best way forward for Malaysian sports and were looking forward to be a part of plan, if it takes off.
Asian Football Confederation (AFC) general secretary, Windsor Paul John, had said that Malaysia already has a lot of talent and what was lacking was the talent scout culture in Malaysia sport.
He was responding to Sport Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman’s recent comment on plans to scout for young foreign football talent and train them at the Mokhtar Dahari Academy in Gambang, Pahang, under the National Football Development Programme (NFDP).
Former football international defender, Datuk Santokh Singh said the talent scouts should exist at all levels – national, state, clubs, districts and schools.
“FA of Malaysia and especially State FAs and clubs, should engage former internationals to be their talent scouts and comb the respective states, districts and school to look for talent to be recommended for further structured training,” said the Santokh who turns 67 on June 22.
“Talent scouting is part and parcel of football setup but sadly in Malaysia it hardly exists.
“We don’t make an earnest effort to look for the abundance of talent in Malaysia and then complain there is not enough players coming through the ranks,” said Santokh when met at the three day 68th Gurdwara Cup and Sikh Festival of Sports which ended yesterday at the Royal Selangor Club in Bukit Kiara.
“Just take this Gurdwara Cup where there are definitely talent players in football, hockey and netball especially when we have junior players competing. But where are the talent scouts. It does not matter how small a competition, if it is held in a remote area, communal in nature or organised by some parents or community, we need to the talent scouts out there.”
“During yesteryear. we have many talent coming through the clubs and state leagues for the state teams. Today these leagues are either non-existence or if run, it poorly managed, the quality of the league is poor and number of teams competing has dwindled. Thus we have to go out to the districts, villages, school and search for the talent.”
Another ex-international Datuk M. Karathu said besides the states and clubs, the Ex-Internationals Association too has to be a role to push the talent scouting agenda to the relevant bodies.
“While States and clubs should engage their former state and ex-internationals to be actively involved in their development programme which besides conducting coaching clinics should also involve talent scouting, the ex-international association should make a strong effort to push their members to be absorbed by the state and club teams.
“Yes, we have ex-internationals who are coaching teams, but there are many more ex-internationals who do not want to be involved at the highest level but prefer to work at grassroots level,” said the 75-year former Perak player in the 60s to 70s, played for the national team and coached from national youth to several State teams.
Former National Coaching Board chairman, Sheikh Kamaruddin Sheikh Ahmad said that Talent Scouting is better that Talent Identification.
“Talent scouts can pick up talents in specific sports as they see the children play the game which is much more effective manner to scout for talent,” said the Assistant Professor in Department of educational study at University of Putra Malaysia.
Kamaruddin related how the talent scout system was effective in the Kem Bakat, but suffered a natural death after a while because there was no follow through.
Another ex-international football, V. Kalimutu, said the direction to engage former internationals should come from the top management of state teams and clubs.
“But sadly the top management are more interested in immediate results and pay little attention to long term development programmes or for scouting fresh talent,” said the 73-year-old who is still actively involved in grassroots coaching.
The former NFDP coaching educator said that he personally had found more than 20 talented players from the annual Royal Selangor Club (RSC) International age-group tournament from the various local teams which competed and recommend them to NFDP and of which a majority were absorbed into the programme.
“Imagine the number of youth tournaments which go unnoticed and we lose out on missing many talented players.”
Datuk K. Rajagobal, coach of PKNS and former national coach and international said that with strong domestic leagues missing, talent scouting or elaborate development programmes needs to be in place.
“I came from the domestic league system playing for a small club called Hotspurs from Setapak where I lived and then played for bigger clubs like Cholan Youth and PKNS, before being spotted and drafted to the Selangor state team,” recalled Rajagobal.
“In PKNS we do not have talent scouts but have an elaborate development programme from seven year olds to 17, and we get our players coming through this system.
“But States have a wider area to cover and with the Leagues not as competitive as before, they need to have talent scouts to travel the length and breath and every corner of their respective states to look for talent. We can wait to get players from having trials.”
The NFDP has a talent scout department with a few talent scout coaches who work closely with the respective State technical directors of their programme, but certainly they could do with more talent scouts to reach out to wider areas.
Talent scouts is in fact non-existence in all sports.
This is where the Malaysian Olympian Association (MOA), headed by Karu Selvaratnam and who have more than 300 Olympian’s from various sports can be more proactive and aggressive to offer the services of the available members to the various sports.
MOA and Ex-State and Ex-National Footballers’ Association Malaysia, headed by Datuk Soh Chin Aun, certainly have to knock hard on the doors of respective sports national and state associations, and clubs, to engage their members as talent scouts, as part of giving back to the game and also to ensure a brighter future for Malaysian sports.
However, it is important that these talent scouts are remunerated for their services and time.
Indeed, it is time for sports in Malaysia to make talent scouting as part and parcel of their respective sports master plan.
Ends.

Let's Aspire To Be Different







 Talent scouts the way to go forward


Youth and Sport Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman had recently said that considerations are in the air to scout for young foreign football talent and train them at the National Football Development Programme (NFDP) at the Mokhtar Dahari Academy in Gambang, Pahang, with view to naturalise these players to represent the nation in the future.
Was enough thought put into this idea before making the statement – like what kind of message is being put across local young talent under the NFDP, is this the way to go forward, is Malaysia really dearth of talent and will the proposal work.
NST Sport in an exclusive interview spoke to Asian Football Confederation general secretary, Datuk Windsor Paul John, on his thoughts on the idea.
Windsor having experienced an entire spectrum of football as player, coach and now administrator, bluntly put it that Malaysia has a wide base of talented players and there is no need to look for foreign talent.


By Tony Mariadass
Malaysia do not need to look for foreign talent to become a prominent football nation in the near because it was a wide base of talent which is not tapped.
These was the strong statement made by Asian Football Confederation (AFC) general secretary, Datuk Windsor Paul John.
“What Malaysian football needs is talent scouts to move forward and unearth the wide base of talent which is waiting to be spotted and polished to become gems,” said the 59-year-old Windsor when met at the AFC headquarters in Bukit Jalil.
“Talent scouts are part and parcel of the game all over the world but is non-existence in Malaysia.
“We do have to go far to look how the talent scouts’ systems works and its model. Just look at our neighbour have Thailand. Just look at the number of talented players it unearths and how football has progressed in the country.”
Windsor said the only form of talent scout that is existent in Malaysia is through coaches from the national or state bodies who occasionally go for youth tournaments to look for talented players.
“But these coaches, normally attend the final of a tournament. What happens to the odd talented players whose teams fail to make the final rounds?
“Teams may not do well and fail to make the final rounds, but there could be one or two players who are talented but because football is a team again and overall strength of the team is the full composition of the team, we lose these talented players because no one is there to pick them up.
“We have lost many players in this manner. But if talent scouts were present they could have picked up these players.”
Windsor also said that in Thailand there is national age-group tournaments for all age groups from 8 years old.
“This is the ground where thousands of young players can display their talent and get spotted. In Malaysia do we have a platform as wide spread like the Thais and is run over a period of time and not on carnival basis over weekends or couple of months,” he asked.
So who can be talent scouts and what is the criteria?
“Firstly one must an ‘eye’ to spot talent. Who has these ‘eyes’? Most of the time it is ex-state or international players, coaches, teachers or people who have technical knowledge of the game.
“Anyone can spot a player who is born gifted to play, but it takes a spotting ‘eye’ to identify talent. A talent does not have to be complete player. He can be someone who has a good left foot, good on both feet, good football sense, good physique among others.
“Talent scouts pick up uncut diamonds and polish them to become gems.”
So what is in it for talent scouts?
“Of course there must be remunerations for them. They can be hired on a fulltime basis as talent scouts for clubs or states. Ex-international associations can play role by offering their members.
“Coaches who can become talent scouts are those who do not make to the highest level as coaches.
“Individual talent scouts are plenty in Europe and they comb all youth tournaments to spot talent. These scouts have to be rewarded when the players they spot, sign their first contract.
“To ensure that everything is above board and does not violate contractual dealings, there has to be a guidelines set up for them to operate and adhere to it strictly.
“If Malaysia can set up this talent scout entity which becomes part of the footballs setup in Malaysia, we will without doubt see our talent base become wider and we need not look for foreign talent.”
Windsor said countries like Qatar rely on foreign talent who become citizens of their countries because they do not have a base.
“Locals in Qatar are not many who interested to play football. It is different in Malaysia because we have a football culture, football is the No 1 sport and played in every part of Malaysia.”
Windsor also warned about bring in young talent as contracts cannot be signed with players below 16 and between 16-18 it has to be a parental contract.
“And the possibility of these foreign young talent leaving to return to their home country before they come of age to sign contracts is also high.
“At the Aspire Academy in Qatar which the Sports Minister wanted to emulate, it was established in 2004 to find and develop the best young make Qatari athletes, whilst also providing them with high quality secondary school education. Eventually they also offered scholarships to foreign young talent with the hope of giving them citizenships and represent their nation.
“Since the population in Qatar is small the identification of talents was at an early age by cooperating with schools and sports federations. They have multi-sport skills development centres across Qatar to promote sports and prepare talented youth before they reach the appropriate age to be considered for the Academy. 

“In football they conduct scouting in the clubs and schools as well as having our own Talent Centres, then Feeder Groups, that start working with the boys at a very early stage and only the best young Qatari athletes and footballers receive scholarships to join Aspire.
Aspire also started the CSR initiative that is now known as "Aspire Football Dreams" in 2005, when Aspire Academy and the stakeholders in Qatar looked for a way to support developing countries in combination with helping local Aspire talents in their development.
Given the philosophy and background of Aspire Academy, providing scholarships and giving then 14-year-old boys the opportunity to get a profound education combined with the best possible environment to be able to start a career as professional football player, seemed to be the best fit.
The program was kicked off 2007 in Africa, involving seven countries and 430,000 young football players that were screened. In 2008 an extension to three continents (Asia, Africa, Latin America) took place to support more regions and children and a satellite branch of Aspire Academy was installed in Senegal. Since the start in 2007 until 2014 more than 3.5 million kids have been screened in 17 countries with 18–20 scholarships awarded each year.
“And these players are offered to represent Qatar,” said Windsor.
Thus, the Sports Minister’s suggestion to admit foreign talent at NFDP looks hard to fall in place.
Probably it is time that FA of Malaysia, State FAs and clubs seriously start thinking about establishing the talent scout culture and system into Malaysian football not only to create a wider base of talented pool of players for the domestic league, but also see Malaysian football standards rise in the near future.
Ends.

Brief on Datuk Windsor Paul John: 
Instilled with a lifelong passion for football, the former school teacher from Kedah featured for the state’s youth team and later extended his love for the game when he turned trainer for Selangor in 1992.
He then coached the Selangor President’s Cup team in 1994 and thereafter, went on to hold various positions in several organisations, including the Football Association of Malaysia and the Asean Football Federation. In 2001, Windsor joined FIFA as its Development Officer and later served as a performance consultant.
Since taking helm as the AFC General Secretary in 2015, Windsor has been instrumental in the implementation of the AFC’s new Vision and Mission under the guidance of AFC President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa. Since its launch in January 2016, Windsor has spearheaded the restructuring and transformation journey of the AFC administration to bring to life the desired outcomes envisaged under the new Vision and Mission.
He has also led Asian football’s staunch stand against matching-fixing, as the AFC continues to be one of the most committed sport bodies in the world on the issue.
An avid believer of fostering unity in the world of football, Windsor has worked with his Executive team to implement the AFC’s partnerships with fellow Confederations and most recently, under his tenure, AFC President Shaikh Salman signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) and Confederation Africaine de Football (CAF) in 2016.
Throughout his career, Windsor has also been entrusted by FIFA in various senior capacities in several major football spectacles, which include five FIFA World Cups as well as the first in Asia – 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan; the 2009 and 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup and the Copa America Centenario USA 2016.
His skilled expertise and meticulous attention to detail has also resonated across the AFC’s ever-improving competitions with the AFC Asian Cup 2015 Australia, the AFC Under-23 Championship Qatar 2016 as well as the AFC Champions League and AFC Cup, all achieving new records and milestones on multiple fronts, including spectatorship, fan engagement and T.V viewership.
A football man in every sense of the word, Windsor has set his sights to enhance the level of professionalism and capabilities of the AFC Member Associations as one of the key drivers to transform the AFC into the world’s leading confederation.



Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Sidney the bowling icon passes away




The wake will be held at Hall 18, 1st Floor Nirvana Memorial Centre, Jalan 1/116A, Off Jalan Sungei Besi, Sungei Besi, 57100, Kuala Lumpur on 4th and 5th June, 2019 from 3pm to 10pm daily. Burial will follow soon after 6th June 2019 at 12pm.

MALAYSIAN TENPIN BOWLING CONGRESS (MTBC) former secretary-general, Sidney Tung passed away yesterday in Petaling Jaya.
Sidney, who turned 74 on Jan 6, was an iconic figure for the sports of bowling, where he played a key role together with MTBC president Datuk Dr P. S, Nathan, from turning bowling which was regarded as a parlour sports to be recognised as an excellence sports and accepted into schools and became a family game.
An architectural designer and draftsman, Sidney was full of passion for the game and was the founder of Persatuan Tenpin Bowling Kuala Lumpur in 1976.
He has held many important posts in bowling which include being assistant secretary of MTBC  from 1978 to 1984, secretary-general of MTBC  from 1980-to 2003, Sport manager of 1998 Commonwealth Games and  (1996-1998), CEO of 2003 World Tenpin Bowling Championship to name a few.
At the international level he was  secretary of World Tenpin Bowling Association Asian Zone (now known as Asian Bowling Federation) 1994-1996, Member of ABF Tournament & Technical Committee (1997-2004), member of FIQ Membership Committee (1995-2003), deputy secretary-general WTBA  (1999-2003), WTBA Tournament Committee (1999-2003), WTBA World Ranking Committee (1999-2003) and WTBA Marketing Committee (1999-2003)
Positions he held in international organisations include Vice-president Asian Bowling Federation, vice-president Commonwealth Tenpin Bowling
Federation, ABF chairman statistic & award recognition committee, ABF Tour Ltd board member.
He was also an International official in following championships:
Technical delegate: East Asian Games, China (1993), Asian Youth
Championship, HK (1993), Hiroshima Asian Games, Japan (1994), East Asian
Games, South Korea (1995), AMF Bowling World Cup, Kobe (1998)
 Jury of appeal: World Youth Championship, HK (1996), SEA Games, Jakarta
(1997), SEA Games, Brunei (1999), Asian Championship, Doha (2000)
 Tournament Director: SEA Games, KL (1989), 1st WTTC, KL (1994), Asian
Youth Championship, KL (1996), Commonwealth Games, KL (1998)
 Tournament manager: SEA Games, Penang (2001), World Championship KL
(2003)
 Team manager: SEA Games (1981, 1985, 1987, 1991, 1995), FIQ Asian
Championships (1980, 1982, 1984, 1988, 1992, 1994, 1996, 1998), FIQ World
Championships (1983, 1987, 1991, 1995, 1999), Asian Games (1986), AMF
Bowling World Cup (1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002).
Among the awards he received are PPN (Pingat Pangkuan Negara) from Yang Di Pertuan Agong (1990), AMN (Pingat Ahli Mangku Negara ) from Yang Di Pertuan Agong (1999), FIQ Silver Pin Award for outstanding contribution (1999).
His most cherished award the World Bowling Writers (WBW) awarded
him the Mort Luby Jr Distinguished Service Award for 2003.
The award was given for his tireless efforts in promoting
bowling worldwide.
Sidney is best remembered for calling the media in the late 70s and 80s from wherever he was to give them the latest results as he knew many considered bowling a parlour sport.
 Today bowling is covered widely by all local major newspapers as the
conception of the game has changed and is recognised as a competitive
sport.
Sidney had hoped to see bowling in Olympics.
Sdiney was a fatherly figure to Malaysian bowlers and many owe it to him for their rise in the game.
Sidney was popularly known as "Uncle Sidney' among the bowlers.
Rest in peace dear Sidney.


Thursday, May 30, 2019

Gone but not forgotten



Thursday, 30 May 2019, 11:48 AM
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7 minute read
Dahlan Zainuddin: Gone but not forgotten
https://assets.nst.com.my/images/articles/30nt04rbb_1559174923.jpg
Datuk Dahlan Zainuddin (right) in a scene from the 1979 movie ‘Kisah Seorang Biduan’. -NSTP/File pc
By TONY MARIADASS - May 30, 2019 @ 8:08am
KUALA LUMPUR: The golden voice of ever-green Datuk Dahlan Zainuddin of the 70s era may have been silenced with his passing on Tuesday, but his legacy, true to his famous song and film, Kisah Seorang Biduan, will forever live on and be etched in the memories of all.
Dahlan, 78, died on Tuesday at 9.48pm at Selayang Hospital after falling into a coma since Saturday, following a second stroke in four years.
He had touched many from different walks of life and I was blessed that I had known him for almost 42 years.
The down-to-earth artiste is not only friendly with his fans, but also went out of his way to keep musicians together as a family.
Dahlan, after 40 years of being in the music industry, was still promoting musicians.
I was 19 when I first met Dahlan in 1977 as my football captain of the New Straits Times team.
Football was in Dahlan’s blood and he was responsible for putting the NSTP football team in the limelight as the captain and coach of the team when he was working as a marketing executive with the newspaper.
How I remember my first trip to Bangkok, thanks to Dahlan, who organised a Juara Kugiran for NSTP staff and raised money to take the NSTP football team for friendly matches in Bangkok by train.
Our first trip to Kelantan was by the Sri Jaya bus with his band for concerts in Pasir Mas and Pasir Puteh after friendly matches with local teams.
Dahlan, who played as a forward or midfielder, first played for the Selangor Indian Association in the Selangor league before turning out for teams like Starlight Club, Chui Lok, Belia Sinaran and Mara.
Even when he was older, he continued to play in the veteran team of Ulu Kelang Recreation Club.
He only stopped playing in 2013 when he was not well and even kept away from singing for two years.
However, it was not long before he returned to singing in 2015 with a performance in the KTM railway event coach to Hat Yai.
“Singing is in my blood. I cannot stay away from it.
“Although I may have slowed down and do not perform as many shows, I am happy that my services are still sought and invited to perform at functions,” Dahlan said.
Dahlan continued to perform at functions, and was helping a veteran group of buskers, Melody Buskers. He sang with them once or twice a week at the Nasi Lemak Tanglin at the Tanglin Community Food court near Lake Gardens.
“My presence with them is to endorse the band and that to tell music lovers that we have good buskers who are experienced,” Dahlan said.
Asked if he was degrading himself by playing at a food court, Dahlan said: “I did not become a star overnight. I had to go through the mill and start from the bottom.
“I will never forget my roots and will always support any kind of music and played anywhere.
“Music is supposed to be played anywhere and without the support of the masses, we will not be popular.
“Besides, playing at a food court allows me to meet fans and it was also an opportunity to meet old friends in a relaxed surrounding.”
https://assets.nst.com.my/images/articles/30nt04raa_1559174928.jpg
Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah Sultan Ahmad Shah Al-Musta’in Billah speaking to the widow of Datuk Dahlan Zainuddin, Datin Effa Rizan (right), after funeral prayers at Masjid Saidina Abu Bakar As-Siddiq in Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur, yesterday. -NSTP/MOHD YUSNI ARIFFIN
Dahlan also had used sports to bring musicians together. On numerous occasions he organised football friendlies with artistes from neighbouring countries and also worked with music associations, such as Papita, Seniman and Karyawan, for many events.
He had indeed come a long way since starting to sing as a lounge and pub singer in the early 1970s.
Dahlan made his mark after competing in the Bintang RTM and won the Best Performer Award in 1975.
That year, he released his debut EP (extended play) album titled Kisah Seorang Biduan, which proved to be a hit and he went on to record two EPs, nine LPs (long play) and five CDs (compact discs).
He created history by becoming the first local singer to hold a concert at Stadium Negara in 1978 and also performed at the National Stadium in Singapore.
Dahlan also performed at the Malaysia Hall in London in 1976.
The Ipoh-born Dahlan spent his early days in Singapore where he had his primary education at the Telok Kurau English School before returning to Kuala Lumpur as a teenager.
He was also an actor and starred in the movie Kisah Seorang Biduan (1979), which was also the title of his debut album. He also acted in television dramas.
The NSTP football team was saddened when news of his first stroke broke and went on to organise a tribute dinner for him in January 2017.
Datin Effa Rizan, Dahlan’s wife of 40 years, was touched by the event held in her husband’s honour.
“We knew about the dinner, but we were surprised to see Dahlan’s old band here, too. I had known these men when they were just teenagers. How they have changed,” she had said.
“Seeing all of his old friends lifted his spirits and cheered him up.”
He almost brought tears to everyone’s eyes when he crooned Save the Last Dance for Me, which he sang in his well-known soft voice.
Dahlan leaves behind Effa and their children, Natasha Idha, 40, Mohd Danial, 35 and Athinia Ines, 24.
Another son, Akasya Iman died at the age of 12 because of leukaemia.