Thursday, December 10, 2009

Raja Bola's Big Freeze

Uwe Seeler

It was in the late 70s that loose cannon first saw Abdul Ghani Minhat in person. His son, Nik Abdul Halim, was loose cannon's schoolmate at Bukit Nanas. Even during primary school days, loose cannon knew Ghani by reputation, having been fed with a diet of sports articles from New Straits Times, Berita Harian and Utusan Melayu's Dunia Sukan.

Last week EPLx Kosmo! carried an interview with the Raja Bola. Interestingly he related his experience in England and Germany in 1962 which was dubbed the Big Freeze by the Malayan media then! Ghani spent four months in England and Germany, alongside his fellow striker, Robert Choe. Problem was the stint was held throughout the entire winter season!

Among those whom the two met were Germany's World Cup winning coach Sepp Herberger, Uwe Seeler and Helmut Schoen as well as Ron Greenwood at West Ham and Bill Nicholson and Jimmy Greaves at Spurs. Training was mostly done indoors.

Ghani told loose cannon he was originally recommended to be sent for an attachment to Brazil upon Choo Seng Quee's suggestion but the FA of Malaya, made up of mostly Anglophiles, preferred England.

"Utusan Melayu even ran a fund-raising campaign to provide us with pocket money throughout our stint in Europe," said Ghani.

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