Thursday, November 26, 1992

Subra takes over (The Malay Mail)

S. SUBRAMANIAM, a man who prefers to remain out of the spotlight, has been
given the job to resurrect Kuala Lumpur as a soccer power.
Last night, the Kuala Lumpur FA management committee headed by president
Tan Sri Elyas Omar gave Subramaniam the mandate to take over as coach of
next season's Semi-Pro League team from Chow Kwai Lam.
Although Subramaniam, who is also KLFA's Director of Coaching, would
have preferred to remain as a backroom man, he decided to accept the
challenge because of the vote of confidence from the KLFA.
It'll be the 56-year-old's second stint as coach, having first guided KL
from 1982-84.
He will be assisted by Lim Kim Lian.
"I had not expected this job because for some time now, I have been
involved mainly in the development of KL soccer at youth level," said
Subramaniam, who served as technical adviser in previous seasons.
"I am honoured by the KLFA's trust in me and on my part, I'd do my best
to revive KL's fortunes," he said.
Subramaniam, a father of two grown up sons, earned his English FA
coaching badge as early as 1958, when he was undergoing a teachers'
training course in Kirby.
He obtained the FA of Malaysia's advanced coaching certificate in 1971
and the Fifa coaching licence in 1972 at the Asian Coaching School.
He has been a member of the technical study group at the 1986 World Cup
which was headed by Josef Venglos and also a member of several other
technical study groups.
Subramaniam said he has discussed with KLFA plans for the new season and
will be preparing the team accordingly.
"My original plan was to groom the KL back-up squad to become the a
fully-fledged Semi-Pro League team by 1994. But it looks like we'd have to
set an earlier target because of several factors."
Among them are the fact several senior players have either announced
their decision to quit or have been plagued by injuries.
There is also the factor of players having lost their form.
"We'd calling all players from the present squad to attend training
together with the back-up and Razak Cup squads," he said.
"We will then select the best team from this pool. But it'd definitely
be a blend of experience and youth. 1993 will be a transition period for
Subramaniam said his philosophy in coaching is to ensure that the
players are happy in training.
"Right now, I really don't have an idea of the composition of the team
because several key players will not be around while some are doubtful."
Among those missing will be foreign players Seslija Milomir and Anto
Grabo, whose contracts have not been renewed.
Zoran Nikolic's contract, however, has been extended for another season.
Veteran Mat Zan Mat Aris has retired from the game while Tang Siew Seng
is still injured.
Defenders See Kim Seng and Chow Siew Yai will meeting the management
committee before their fate with KL is decided.

Monday, November 16, 1992

Sweet success (The Malay Mail)

PAHANG had to wait nine years to taste sweet success but it was certainly
worth it as the celebrations went on into the wee hours of the morning,
moving into the State districts and expected to go on for a while.
It was a night of celebration for the Sultan and Sultanah of Pahang, the
Tengku Mahkota and the fans, men and women, aged and young, and even the
Adults weeped freely in joy while the young had a merry time. Women and
girls screamed, while children who were too young to know what was
happening seemed to be wallowing in all the celebrations.
Even the Sultan and Tengku Mahkota could not hide their joy as they went
down to the Merdeka Stadium tracks to meet the fans and thank them
As the 40,000-odd fans watched at the stadium, millions saw the match
`live' on TV, which was the climax of Malaysian soccer for 1992.
Thousands of fans failed to get tickets while the adventurous decided to
watch it on the big screen at the Dataran Merdeka.
Fans from both Kedah and Pahang had begun streaming in during the wee
hours of Saturday morning in buses, vans, cars, trains and even on
The stadium was a sea of colour and was packed to the brim in shortly
after the gates were opened at 5pm.
The Kedah fans packed the left side of the stadium to give it hues of
green and yellow while the right side was painted in white and black or
the Pahang's team colours of yellow and black.
Fans had their faces painted too.
For the Pahang fans, it was something they had not experienced for the
past eight years - Pahang last qualified for the Malaysia Cup final in
1984 where they lost to Selangor. The year before, Pahang had won the
As for Kedah, coming to the Merdeka Stadium seemed like an annual
After all, they were in their fifth final in six years. And it might
have been even sweeter to return home on Sunday morning with the Cup,
after having faced the humiliation of being demoted to the Second Division
last year following their Malaysia Cup, on their fourth attempt, in 1990.
But everyone was there to have a good time and due credit must be given
to the fans for making it an incident-free affair with true sportsmanship
The Pahang fans, of course, were partying all night long. Even after the
final whistle had gone, the fans were still in the stadium savouring the
The Pahang team arrived at their hotel, The Regent, a little past
midnight to the resident bands tune of Congratulations.
The next morning, the Pahang players left by bus for Bentong - their
first stop to show off the Malaysia Cup.
Then it was to Mentakab before proceeding to Jerantut for a tea
reception at the Jerantut District Council Padang, which had earlier been
scheduled to celebrate the Sultan of Pahang's 62nd birthday a fortnight
The celebrations are not expected to stop and will culminate with the
Malam Juara (Champions' Night) on Nov 22 at the Istana Hotel in Kuala
It is here that the rewards are expected to be officially announced.
The Champions' Night, besides honouring Pahangs almost clean sweep this
season (Charity Shield, League Cup, Fairplay Trophy, Golden Boot Award,
Malaysia Cup Final Man-of-the-Match award and the Malaysia Cup), is also
to raise funds to settle Pahang FAs oustanding balance for their building.
It is learnt that $1 million has been pledged and more are expected to
reward the Pahang teams Malaysia Cup victory.

We got it right! (The Malay Mail)

MANY A dream of soccer players are made in Cup finals.
For Pahang rookie Zulhamizan Zakaria, Saturdays final was more like an
achievement which comes once in a lifetime.
No one can take away his goal which came only 98 seconds into the match.
And the Cup returned to Pahang after nine years.
Zulhamizan, 23, had every reason to be on Cloud Nine because his goal is
probably the fastest in Cup final He was the most unlikeliest player to
score, having netted only three times in the Semi-Pro league.
However, MailSport were spot on, having tipped Zulhamizan as Pahangs
probable winner last Friday.
"As much as I had wanted to score, I didnt expect it would happen so
early in the game," said a delighted Zulhamizan.
"It has been fantastic for me and I do not think I would ever get to
feel the same way again. Ever."
The modest Zulhamizam said victory was a team effort. "The coaches,
officials, reserves, players and fans deserve all the credit."
Zulhamizan was surprised he was announced Man-of-the Match.
"I felt Alan Davidson was the righful person. Afterall, it was his pass
that led to the goal."
Yesterday, however the FAM overturned their decision and gave it to
Coach Mike Brown was happy for Zulhamizam.
"He certainly turned out to be the ace in the pack. It may have been a
simple goal off a mistake but Zulhamizans vision to challenge Azmi Mahmud
got us the winner."
For Zulhamizan it was an proud and historic moment and he can expect
more memorable moments.
Nine years ago when Pahang won the Cup, Zulhamizan, then 14, had lined
the streets to welcome the team.
Today, he returns to the same streets, but this time the new hero.

Friday, November 13, 1992

Hidden ace (The Malay Mail)

DESPITE such an array of stars, Pahang's ace in the pack for tomorrow's
Malaysia Cup final could well turn out to be newcomer Zulhamizan Zakaria.
Coach Mike Brown has special plans for this 23-year-old utility player,
who made his debut with Pahang in 1990 as a striker.
Undoubtedly, his yet untold position could keep Kedah guessing, as Brown
can field him as a leftback, left midfielder or left flanker.
Even Zulhamizan has no idea where he is expected to be fielded tomorrow,
especially as he has been tried in every slot during training.
"But I am prepared for any role," said Zulhamizan in Kuantan yesterday.
"The coach knows best where I will be most effective."
"I am only happy that I am in the running for a place in the first 11
for the final."
Zulhamizam can consider himself exceptional because while most players
are in line for a role and at most two, he is being lined up for three
This gives him more chances of making the starting lineup.
Zulhamizan is glad Brown has found more than one use for him. "At least
this way I have become versatile and my chances of playing are brighter."
Said Brown: "I still have time to finalise my plans and where I intend
to use Zulahamizan. Right now I am very happy he is working hard and has
done well in his various roles.
"It gives me plenty of options."
Zulhamizan's speciality is his sweet left foot which sends good crosses.
He is also apt in defence and supports the attack from his flankback
position. He has been kinown to give opposing defenders a hard time.
As a midfielder, he works hard, defends well, distributes the ball
nicely and puts his crosses to good use.
As a flanker, he is fast and is able to score.
For Zulhamizam, playing in the final is a dream come true.
"I was only 14 when Pahang won the Cup in 1983. I joined the fans in
lining the steets to welcome our heroes.
"Today I am playing aside some of those heroes like Zainal Abidin
Hassan. It is really an honour for me."
Zulhamizan said nothing would be sweeter than to bring back the Cup a
second time. Better still, if he could score in the final.
"The most unlikeliest players have been known to score in Cup final and
why not me?" he said.
Zulhamizam has scored three goals in the SemiPro league but has yet to
get into the scoresheet in the Malaysia Cup.

Sunday, November 8, 1992

Key to Kedah's success (The Malay Mail)

MENTION Kedah's soccer rise over the years and two names are bound to crop
up - Datuk Ahmad Basri Mohamed Akil and Ahmad Shafie.
While Basri, the Kedah FA deputy president and State Secretary, has
tasted the fruits of their hard labour, Ahmad has not been so lucky.
The Ahmad combination started in the 80s, when together they mapped
Kedah's rise with good development programmes.
Their hardwork started paying dividends earlier than expected, when
Kedah reached the 1987 Malaysia Cup final.
Shafie was coach that year and the following year when Kedah reached
their second consecutive final.
However, KL soured things up when they won on both occasions.
Shafie was then named national coach for two years and Milous Kvacek
took over.
Kedah qualified for the final a record third time in 1989 but again lost
out to KL.
Kedah made history when they made their fourth consecutive final in 1990
under Kvacek, and this time they finally won, beating Singapore.
Shafie took over from Kvacek last year and the 49-year-old school
teacher saw his team fall into Division Two.
Kedah FA decided to seek foreign expertise again and Robert Alberts was
Kedah are in the final for yet another time and Shafie can only sit and
watch from the terraces and ponder on his ill-luck of not being able to
taste success.
But he is not one to brood. Rather, he prefers to look on the bright
side of things.
"It would have been great to coach a team and win the Cup," said Shafie,
who is now Kedah's director of coaching.
"Perhaps, it is fated that I not taste Malaysia Cup success."
Shafie said he would still derive some satisfaction as long as he can
contribute to the success of the team.
Shafie teaches at the Sultan Abdul Hamid College, Kedah's soccer school
of excellence. He said that every year when Kedah get new players stamping
their mark, it makes his work worthwhile.
Kedah's cream of players have been coming from this college and more
recently from SM Syed Omar, the second school of excellence.
Shafie also coaches all the youth teams besides supervising other
coaches and ensuring that development programmes, drawn out by him, are
carried out.
Kedah now not only have a good senior team, but also good youth players
who are the reservoir for the future.
Several players are now waiting to graduate into the team.
Faridzuan Che Hamid, Kedah's revelation this season, is among the
younger breed of players from the development programme.
Others include Lee Thean Ewe, V. Thinakaran, Saziman Ismail, S.
Manivanan, Mohamad Farouk Ismail, Abdul Malik Yusof and V. Navakumar.
"Kedah may reach many finals and go on to win them. Although I may not
be coaching the winning team, I will seek comfort that some of the
players would have had worked with me.
"I enjoy working with the young. It is more challenging because how
these players are groomed will determine the future of Kedah's soccer."

Monday, November 2, 1992

Tuba's knight of fame (The Malay Mail)

WHILE the whole of Kedah were rejoicing their entry into their fifth
Malaysia Cup final, young striker Faridzuan Che Hamid brought a small
island into the picture of success.
The 21-year-old player hails from Tuba, an island 30 minutes by boat
from Langkawi. He must have made the 5,000 odd islanders proud with a hat-
trick over Kuala Lumpur on Saturday night.
Faridzuan now has seven goals in the Malaysia Cup and six in the Semi-
Pro League.
And what a night it was for Faridzuan.
"I will never forget this match," said the eldest in a family of three
boys after Kedah beat KL 6-4.
"Ten goals in a match and three from me. I would have just settled for
one. I and happy to have been a part in Kedahs entry into the final."
Faridzuan only tasted action in a couple of matches last season as a
substitute. But this year, he emerged as Kedah's twin striker with Peter
Recalling his emergence for Kedah, Faridzuan said he owes a great deal
to headmaster Kassim Saad who launched his football career.
"I was playing for my school when Cikgu Kassim spotted me. Cigku Kassim
was in Langkawi looking for players for the State schools Under-18 team."
After that he got a tranfer to SM Tengku Bendahara in Kodiang where
Kassim was the headmaster.
Kassim has been instrumental in spotting and motivating players into
Sultan Abdul Hamid is the soccer school of excellence in Alor Star.
Players like Radhi Mat Din, Azmi Mahmud, Norazam Ishak and Lee Thean Ewe
have emerged from the project.
Kassim is currently teaching in Parit Buntar.
After representing Kedah schools, Faridzuan played in the Razak Cup and
then the President's Cup.
It was in the latter Cup final last season when Kedah emerged champions
that Robert Alberts saw his potential.
Faridzuan, who helps his father in the fishing business when he gets
time off, said that he owes his rise to all the people who have taken an
interest in his progress.
"I am still young and have a lot more to learn. Right now, playing in
the final is a dream come true for me."
KEDAH 6 (2) K. LUMPUR 4 (1)
* First-leg scores in paranthesis