Malaysian football shall not be defined solely by milestones such as the Merdeka Tournament inaugurated in 1957 or our appearance in the Munich 1972 Olympic Games or the non-appearance in the Moscow Olympics. The 1994 bribery scandal cast a gloom over our footballing skies, leaving the game almost paralysed. The game has not quite recovered from the huge blow.
That's why we need to hold on to the memories of yore. A way to remind us Malaysia not too long ago was quite respected on the pitch.
Having written extensively on the history, the politics and the tactics of the game for almost two decades, it was somehow nice to walk down memory lane, thanks to an invite from Zareen.
Taking my family to see Datuk Soh Chin Aun, James Wong, Santokh Singh and Hassan Sani in the flesh was worth the drive to KLIA Pan Pacific.
I told my kids: "OK, ini Datuk Soh Chin Aun, dulu boleh score bila-bila dia nak, stokin sampai pergelangan kaki, ini Santokh Singh, ambik freekick pakai outstep, ini James Wong, dia score winning goal Malaysia dalam pra-Olimpik 1980, ni Hassan Sani, yang bagi pass tu"
"this is Datuk Soh Chin Aun who could score almost at will and rolled his socks down to the ankles, Santokh who could deliver a freekick with the outstep of his boots, James the matchwinner in 1980 and Hassan, who produced the assist".
Along the MEX highway en route to KLIA, I saw a huge Maxis billboard featuring King James.
I think with all the euphoria on everything foreign with the forthcoming World Cup, it's nice for the telco to feature the four legends as part of their promotional campaign.
I shall be writing a series on this, including quotable quotes like "a crushing blow" by James and Chin Aun's "we were lucky"!
On the way back, we saw another huge Maxis billboard near Tesco Ampang, this time featuring a flying Hassan!
p/s I'm not being paid to write this (haha)