Monday, June 2, 2014

Kalimutu’s not one to give up easily


Published on Saturday 31 May
The Malay Mail

Kalimutu, despite being 68, still coaches the Under-12 boys under the National Football Development Programme.

KALIMUTU N. VEERAPPAN is a shining example of someone who turned disappointment into a passion for sports.
The multi-talented athlete who hails from Malacca was heartbroken when he was left out of the 1972 Munich Olympics contingent. This was despite having been in the football squad of 19 that had earned a ticket to Munich after having beaten the likes of Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and the Philippines in the qualifying rounds in Seoul.
The team management under the late Datuk Harun Idris had promised that all 19 players would be retained for the Olympics.
But that was not to be. Midfielder Kalimutu — who had earned 14 international caps by then — Syed Ahmad, Chan Kok Leng and another player from Johor were dropped.
Kalimutu showing his grandson Kyle Kiren a photo of his younger days.

But Kalimutu, who turned 68 on May 8, did not let that disappointment deter him. “I could have given up sports but I wanted to prove that I was made of sterner stuff,” he said.
Today, Kalimutu is still sharing his knowledge of football and is coach educator (talent scouting) with the National Football Development Programme (NFDP).
Early this week, he left with NFDP technical director Lim Teong Lim and a team of 14 coaches and 22 Under-12 players for a training-cum-playing tour of Germany and Austria.
It is well-known that Kalimutu has impacted on children and adults in football, athletics, hockey, cricket and rugby. He did, after all, represent Malacca in these games in the 1960s and 1970s.
He coached the Malacca football team from 1978 to 1981 and was involved with the Junior Football School Malaysia and Royal Selangor Club soccer programme.
Kalimutu was a double international, having represented the nation in football and in the marathon at the 1967 Seap Games in Bangkok.
“It is my passion for sports, especially football, that has kept me involved all this while,” said Kalimutu, who was a former coaching instructor with the FA of Malaysia and Asian Football Confederation.
So, has his involvement in sports been a consolation for missing the Munich Olympics? “No, I still have not got over the disappointment,” he said.
“All the other achievements in sports have made me happy, but every time I watch the Olympics, I shed tears at my missed opportunity.
The medals Kalimutu has garnered over the years are testimony of his sporting prowess.

“But when I look back or meet players I have coached and friends I have made all over the world, I think I did the right thing to continue with sports.”
Besides Malacca, Kalimutu also coached Perwira Habib Bank, his employer Tenaga Nasional Bhd (Kilat) and the national women’s hockey team.
He retired from TNB in 2001 after 36 years as the head of the company’s sports unit. Kalimutu’s experience in sports also extended to being sports/technical coordinator for events like the Sea Games, Asian Games, 1998 Commonwealth Games, 2002 World Cup hockey tournament and the 2002 FIFA World Cup.
“I still like to conduct football coaching courses if I have the opportunity,” said Kalimutu, who conducted 30 C licence and 20 B licence courses while with AFC and seven C licence courses with the FA of Malaysia from 1996 to 2008.
Despite his hectic schedule, Kalimutu always finds time for his wife Janet Koh Soo Ho and his three grandchildren.
His eldest son, Kelly Sathiraj, has followed in his footsteps and was the former FA of Malaysia assistant general-secretary and is currently project coordinator with AFC.
Kalimutu has another son Kellvyn Silvaraj and a daughter Kellyn Shantini, both of whom are married.
“I am blessed and I cannot complain. Till today, I have former athletes who greet me as ‘coach’ and have time for me. That means a great deal to me and I am happy that I played a small role in moulding them,” said Kalimutu, a livewire at any gathering.
Hurt he may have been long ago in 1972, but Kalimutu used that emotion to spur him to excel in anything he tried his hand at. Clearly, a man worth emulating.

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