The current Malaysian football scene is nothing short of rubbish, were sitting something like 160th position in the FIFA world ranking(there are about 190 seeded countries) . The nation would claim that football is our no 1 sport despite the lousy condition of the national team. This is probably because its our most watched sport(English Premier League’s,EURO,World Cups etc) . Take a walk at the streets, you’ll see more Arsenal and Chelsea shirts than a Malaysian national team shirt(don’t get me started on the Man U’s and Liverpool’s) .What do we watch since we have a team that suffer to beat countries like Indonesia which playing the marbles is above football in their favorite sports list.
It never has been always this bad, at one point Malaysia was considered to be a Asian powerhouse. At that time there weren’t any professional players. The players all had full time jobs and played football simply because they loved it and every time they put on the national shirt, it was a matter of pride!!. Nicknamed “supermokh”, he was one of the most well known footballers in Malaysia during the 1970s, especially famous as a striker with strength, skills and agility to score goal. So, do you have a vague idea who I am talking about? Well, it’s Mokhtar Dahari!
Mokhtar Dahari(1953-1991) was a legendary Malaysian national football team player from Selangor. Born in Setapak on 13 November 1953, he became one of the best players in Asia in the 1970s. He was Malaysia’s best striker. Mokhtar showed interest in playing football at an early age. He played for his school and later for his home state, Selangor FA. He was only nineteen years old when he first played for the Malaysia national football team in an international game. Mokhtar helped Selangor FA win the Malaysia Cup 10 times and score 177 goals altogether. In international games, he scored a total 125 goals in 167 caps for the Malaysian team
The Merdeka Stadium was his second home amidst roars of “Supermokh” from the young generation who worshipped him. Along with goalkeeper R Arumugam, defenders Santokh Singh and Soh Chin Aun, midfielders Reduan Abadullah and Shukor Salleh and Mokhtar’s partner up front, Isa Bakar, the Selangor FA and Malaysia national football team were a force to be reckoned with in the 70’s.
In 1975, Mokhtar represented Malaysia national team against English giants Arsenal F.C. The Malaysian team won the game 2-0 with Mokhtar scoring both goals. After the game, Mokhtar was rumoured to have been offered a chance to play for the Gunners. He also famously scored the equalizing goal in a 1-1 draw against the England national B Team in 1978. He won his 100th cap for representing Malaysia when he played in a Merdeka Football Tournament match against the Japanese national football team in 1976. This Number 10 of Selangor FA also had a friendly game against another Number 10, Diego Maradona, when he met the Boca Juniors in January 1982.
Famous for his speed, he was idolised by young footballers and many tried to imitate his moves on the field.He was blessed with such skills but at the age of 37,Supermokth passed away of motor neurone disease, a chronic disorder that destroyed the nerves that controlled his physical movements, weakening him progressively. The eventual reason for his death was related to the collapse of his lung muscles on 11 July 1991.
Since then Malaysia have never had a team which came close to the passion, drive and hunger to emulate the success of the 70′s national team. We have a bunch of spoil professionals with access to such high tech training methods and programs to ensure they are on top of their game but for some reason, they prefer the nasi lemak and night life.
It was indeed a heart rending day as it marked the end of a highly competent sportsman. However, Mokhtar Dahari is a name that all Malaysians will always remember. I hope someday, something happens and our local football take a drastic change for the sake of the nation. I hope i get the opportunity someday to shake the hands of these stars who made us proud!
The documentary of Mokhtar Dahari
source : Mokhtar dahari profile, Google Image,Youtube http://www.usj.com.my/bulletin/upload/showthread.php?18570-Mokhtar-Dahari-A-True-Legend