Monday, July 18, 2011
Rest in Peace, Mr Bicskei
The footballing world mourns the demise of Bertalan Bicskei, Malaysian national coach from July 2004 to September 2005...
Hakim Amir alerted me to the reports on the internet saying the Hungarian had passed away under mysterious circumstances...read here
Also read some of the stories I had written on Bicskei here and here and here
Bicskei was a graduate of the renowned Cologne sportschule and authored this book (pic).
When he reached our shores in July 2004, he did not waste any time to take a closer look at the grassroots...within hours he was at the Padang C of the NSC in Bukit Jalil accompanied by his wife Anna.
As the only journalist there, I took the opportunity to introduce myself, which marked the start of a very cordial relationship between us. He was tasked to take over from Allan Harris to prepare for the AFF Cup in late 2004 and the 2005 SEA Games.
Unlike Harris who was fond of fielding players loyal to him, Bicskei selected his players based on current form. He gave Liew Kit Kong the chance to prosper, also Khalid Jamlus and Amri Yahyah by giving them an extended run in the senior team...all three were instrumental in Malaysia's first ever victory over Indonesia at the Gelora Bung Karno in December 2004 after 25 years...
But his stint ended in September 2005 when FAM decided to reassign him to take charge of development after Malaysia lost 7-0 to Thailand in the pre-SEA Games, with newly-appointed technical adviser Mohammad Bakar lurking behind his shadows. Read here
My daughter was born on Sept 16, on Malaysian Day, a day ahead of Bicskei's birthday...he sent me an SMS congratulating me...asking me to come back to work quickly to discuss football...He liked to sign off his text messages as BB...
When Julie from the New Straits Times wanted to visit Budapest, I took her to see Bicskei and wife Anna for dinner at PJ Hilton so that they could make arrangements.
When I discovered he was on Facebook, I immediately added him as friend...we kept in touch occasionally. Time did not permit of regular correspondence, much to my regret...
BB, you will be missed.