Sunday, April 6, 2008

Datuk Teoh Chye Hin - a true servant of football

Former Perak FA president and the Asian Football Confederation secretary general Datuk Teoh Chye Hin passed away in Ipoh hours ago.

An accountant by profession, he will be remembered as a true servant of the game. He was 94.

Datuk Teoh served as Perak FA president for 15 years from 1957. He was the FAM treasurer from 1962 to 1978.

His involvement with AFC began on July 1, 1969, when he took over as acting treasurer from H.M Lee, who died in a car accident in June that year.

He replaced fellow Malaysian Koe Ewe Teik as the AFC secretary general in October 1974 and served in that capacity until Datuk Peter Velappan succeeded him in 1978.

Tunku Abdul Rahman Al-haj, who was elected as the governing body's fourth president in their first Congress in Tokyo in 1958, recounted in his book Lest We Forget (1983):

"When I was elected the president of AFC during the Asian Games in Tokyo 1958, Lee Wai Tong, a famous footballer in his days, was the secretary.

"The trouble then was that Asian football had no money and no proper organisation.

"When I took over, Koe Ewe Teik became the secretary-general. Things started moving and Asian football gained strength and repute, so with the others such as, to name a few, the late Datuk Kwok Kin Keng, Lim Kee Seong and Datuk Teoh Chye Hin, AFC took their place among the leading football associations in the world.

"When Chye Hin took over as secretary-general, Ewe Teik became the treasurer. We all left the AFC together (1978) but by then we had accumulated RM1 million for the confederation."

A little under three decades later, AFC have emerged as an integral partner to FIFA and the game at large.

Asia have the first World Cup of the millennium to their credit, elevating the image of the continent to a new perspective.

While torn between idealistic values and commercial interests, AFC continue to lay down the foundations, improving on the youth championships - a brainchild of the Tunku - as a platform for Asia's top youth to showcase their talent in addition to remodelling the Asian Club
Championships into Asia's version of the glamorous UEFA Champions League.

During Datuk Teoh's leadership, Perak won the inaugural Malaysia Cup in `67, and also in `70 and `72, the FAM Cup in `59, `64 ,and `65, and also had a large number of their players selected by the national body for international duty.

Datuk Teoh also served as an independent FAM council member until 2004 when he declined the appointment due to poor health.


elyas omar said...

The passing away and the loss of an outstanding sports administrator/leader must surely be deeply felt by all the football officials throughout Malaysia and Asia.How I wish more of our sports leaders are like him, honest,dedicated and sincere with no thought of personal gain in whatever he did for football. May he rest in peace.

rizal hashim said...

Is this you, Tan Sri?

It's true leaders like Datuk Teoh are a scarce commodity these days.

Tq for visiting.

Purple Haze said...

Malaysia was fortunate to have reliable servants to football in those golden years, those named by the Tunku and those unnamed as well.

Dedication, accountability and transparency were their hallmarks. We need people of that ilk for the revival of most of Malaysian sports, not just football.

Is there just too much government involvement nowadays or is it the Baby Boomer generation or Gen X / Gen Y mentalities ?

rizal hashim said...

purple haze,

i think its societal.

we always expect something in return for our services.

teoh phaik lean said...

Thank you for your kind words for my late father. As his eldest child, although a girl, I used to follow him everywhere: matches, training, even when he went to watch local league matches to talent-spot. He was involved in many organisations, but football was his main love. When politics infiltrated football management, he was very sad. But he was lucky to have good friends in the FAM, who retained him as a Council member for many years. Eventually he had to give up, because of his failing health.

Just last month, I managed to round up some of Perak's football greats of the golden 60s to have dinner with him. It was a wonderful occasion for him. We intended to have another one , with the national players, but unfortunately, he couldnt wait.

My most grateful thanks to all his friends who have helped to make his life so happy. We miss him so.