Monday, February 9, 2015

Tourney lauds Choon Wah

The response was overwhelming as football friends of the late Wong Choon Wah came from all over to pay tribute to him at the invitational memorial football tournament organised last Saturday at Club Aman.
The tournament Initiated by a group of his friends from the United State of America who have a veteran social football team called Wen Parker New York, coordinated the tournament with Kuala Lumpur based International Football Club (IFC), where six invited veteran teams competed in the one-day tournament for 45-years-old and above.
Wen Parker Kuala Lumpur, were the champions of the tournament when they beat Penang Chinese Recreation Club 1-0 in the final, but the real winner was Choon Wah as his friends came to honour the legendary midfielder who had passed away last year on January 31 - the first day of Chinese New Year.
The other teams who competed were Wen Parker New York, Malacca Chinese Recreation Club, Kedah Chinese Recreation Club and Perak Chinese Recreation Club.
The tournament was sponsored by Alex New who is the founder of the Wen Parker team and coordinated by his assistant Ben Wong, which include a full-course Chinese dinner at a well-known restaurant.
At the dinner, the hat was passed around and a collection of RM10,920.00 was passed on to Chong Wah’s widow, Lee Nyok Ching. Choon Wah’s twin daughters Julia Wong Fai Mei and Samantha Wong Fai Lai, another daughter, Jazz Wong Fai Siang, were also present at both the tournament and dinner.
Among the ex-internationals who came to support the event included Datuk Santokh Singh, Datuk Chen Wooi Haw, N. Thanabalan, Ho Hon Seong, Khan Hung Meng, wong Kam Fook, Yip Chee Keong, V. Kalimutu, Khoo Lian Kian, Chow Kwai Lam, Wong Kam Fook, Chow Siew Yai and Looi Loon Teck.
A video of Choon Wah’s playing days was also shown at the dinner in remembering his brilliant playing days including Malaysia’s opening Munich Olympics game against Germany.
On the eve of the tournament, Guinness Anchor Berhad (GAB) through their advisor Francis Yew had hosted a dinner at their Tavern.
“It was a very successful event and the chances are that it will become an annual event. The accolades showered on Choon Wah was endless and it was great memories. He may have gone too soon, but he will forever live in our memories,” said Hon Seong who helped coordinate the event with his brother Simon.
To recap, Choon Wah was the first player to venture into professional football in Hong Kong with South China Athletics Association from 1972 to 1974 before the likes of Lim Fung Kee, Chow Chee Keong and Yip Chee Keong followed suit.
He is among the footballers who played in the Olympics — in Munich 1972 — the only time Malaysia played in the Games. He played in all three matches — against West Germany (the tournament’s opening match) the USA and Morocco in group stage.
His teammates included Wong Kam Fook, Lim Fung Kee, Othman Abdullah, Namat Abdullah, M. Chandran, Khoo Huan Khen, Hamzah Hussain, Sharuddin Abdullah, Wan Zawawi, V. Krishnasamy, Ibrahim Salleh, Harun Jusoh, Ali Bakar, Mohamad Bakar, Loon Teik, Rahim Abdullah and Bahwandi Hiralal.
Choon Wah, who would have turned 68 on March 31, made his Malaysia Cup debut in 1968, playing for Selangor. The state never lost a Malaysia Cup final when Choon Wah was in the team, winning in 1968, 1969, 1971, 1975 and 1976. He also turned out for MCIS in the local league and FAM Cup.
Known for his precision, defence-splitting passes and total control of the engine room, Malaysia has not seen another player of his calibre since.


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