Football: Former Malaysia defender and pundit Shebby Singh dies from heart attack

Serbegeth Singh made his international debut in 1982 and helped Malaysia win gold at the South-east Asian Games in 1989. PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

SINGAPORE - Former Malaysia footballer and well-known pundit Serbegeth Singh, better known as Shebby Singh, died on Wednesday (Jan 12) in Johor Baru. He was 61.

According to Iskandar Puteri district police chief Dzulkhairi Mukhtar, it is believed Shebby died from a heart attack while out cycling. He leaves behind two children, Natassha Kaur and Sonuljit Singh.

The former defender had an illustrious career for club and country, starring for his home state of Johor in 1978, before he moved on to Kuala Lumpur where he won the M-League twice and Malaysia Cup thrice from 1984 to 1990.

He made his international debut in 1982 and helped Malaysia win gold at the South-east Asian Games in 1989.

He went on to earn 61 caps and played his last match for the Harimau Malaya in a friendly at Stadium Merdeka in 1991.

Shebby also played for Pahang, Negeri Sembilan and Perak before he hung up his boots in 1996.

Singapore football legend Fandi Ahmad, who was his teammate at KL and Pahang, was "very sad to hear of the shocking news".

The 59-year-old said: "Shebby was a good friend. He was very friendly and jovial, and very good at motivating others. He was a good player and a good talker who gave clear instructions on the field."

His gift of the gab led him to become a prominent football pundit on TV, working with Astro SuperSport, Fox Sports and ESPN Asia for the past 24 years.

In June 2012, Shebby was appointed global adviser for English Championship side Blackburn Rovers.

Former S-League footballer Rhysh Roshan Rai, who became a football presenter and worked with Shebby at Fox Sports, said: "Shebby cared very deeply about football and his punditry work. He was not afraid to share his opinion and stand his ground.

"He was a lot of fun to be with not just on TV, but also a good guy to talk to off-screen as well. I really enjoyed working with him and appreciated the advice he gave.

"He was also very passionate about his two children in the loving way he spoke about them. We sometimes see these people as celebrities and forget they are people first and foremost, and Shebby was a great person."

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