Wednesday, October 07, 2009


AS FOOTBALL great Dollah Kassim fights for his life in hospital, I am reminded of his contribution to Singapore.

Close your eyes and try to imagine Dollah standing before a ball in the National Stadium, about to take a free kick.

If you cannot picture him in his classic arms-akimbo pose, I can bet that you were not at any Malaysia Cup match of the 1970s.

Boys of my vintage derived immense pleasure from thronging Kallang Stadium weekend after weekend to watch the likes of Dollah whip the minnows of Malaysia in the only sports event that mattered - the Malaysia Cup.

Perlis, Johor, Malacca and Negeri Sembilan were cannon fodder for Dollah and the gang.

Only Selangor and, occasionally, Penang, were any match for us.

If my memory does not fail me, the gang comprised Eric Paine (goalie); Hasli Ibrahim and Syed Mutalib (both capable of breaking legs); Seak Poh Leong (captain); Robert Sim; Samad Allapitchay; "Camel" S. Rajagopal; Quah Kim Song; Quah Kim Lye; "Babyface" Mohammad Noh and, of course, Dollah.

Their Malaysian nemeses were giants such as "Spiderman" R. Arumugam; Santokh Singh; "Datuk" Soh Chin Aun; Mokhtar Dahari; Shukor Salleh and Isa Bakar.

Filling the Kallang cauldron with 50,000 or more ardent fans was a given every weekend.

The coach was Choo Seng Quee, who would start each training session with the National Anthem.

Dollah, thanks for the memories.

Our prayers are with you and we hope that you can overcome your biggest "match" yet.

You beat the odds before and you can do it again.

Dr Huang Shoou Chyuan