1974 - Asian Games, Tehran, Iran.
The national football team, coached by the taskmaster Jalil Che Din, bagged the bronze medal.
Significant to note it was perhaps the only time four of the country's top attackers - Syed Ahmad Abu Bakar, Shahruddin Abdullah, Mokhtar Dahari and Isa Bakar - joined forces as a fearsome quartet.
How did Jalil accommodate the four in the attack? By putting Syed Ahmad, the master dribbler, as the top striker, complemented by Moktar's marauding runs and thunderbolt shots.
Isa, Syed Ahmad's attacking partner in Penang, was installed as a left-winger known for his hit-and-run game and nose for goals. Shahrudin, famed for his thunderous shot, was entrusted to wreak havoc on the right wing.
But Malaysia began the campaign on a disastrous note, losing 8-3 to Israel in the opening match.
Syed Ahmad recalled:
"One of the team leaders uttered: "Hari ini kita kena lori kecil"...which could be interpreted as "we will today lose by a big margin."
"We were in a state of disarray. Some of the players refused to pass to me," said Syed Ahmad.
The team walked back to the dressing room with scoreboard showing Israel 4 Malaysia 0...goals registered by Moshe Onana in the 4th and 18th minutes, Shalom Schwartz 10th and Yehoshua Feigenbaum 39th.
One player sarcastically made a remark to Syed Ahmad: "Hah, di sana, you gentel sana sini, sini tak gentel pun" "Back home you slalomed past your opponent, why don't you do it here..."
Israel added a fifth through Gidi Damti three minutes after the break. Frustrated by the lack of support, Syed Ahmad took it upon himself to reduce the deficit. In the 61st minute, the Johor-born striker, who three years earlier propelled Malaysia to the Munich Olympic Games with a five-goal blitz in the 1971 qualifiers, broke into the Israeli box before he was fouled. Wan Zawawi slotted home the penalty.
But the defence kept on conceding goals. Again to Damti in the 67th and Yoel Massuari (75th).
Then in a five-minute blitz, Syed Ahmad netted a brace.
Memories came flooding back for Syed Ahmad as we spoke about Isa, who passed away in Penang on Saturday.
Once I received the text message from a number of friend of Isa's demise, the first person I forwarded the message to was Syed Ahmad.
"Is it true? We just had a reunion in Penang a few weeks back, Isa was in good spirits."
"We were partners in the Penang attack in the early 70s. Isa's biggest strength was his opportunistic nose for goals. As if he knew where the ball would fall. A loose ball inside the penalty box usually ended up in the net when Isa was around," recalled Syed Ahmad.
"Through the Malaysian Ex-Players Association, we often met up in Penang because Isa was very active. He used to be involved in every activity organised by the association."
Read here and here
Former Dunia Sukan editor Nasir Ahmad said: "I think the biggest tribute for Isa was the fact that he was considered by Mokhtar Dahari himself as his perfect partner."
Read Syed Nadzri's inside knowledge of Isa in Zippy to the very end