Football: What happened to the Malaysia Cup winners of 1977?

A jubilant Quah Kim Song runs towards Dollah Kassim, during the 1977 Malaysia Cup final. ST FILE PHOTO

SINGAPORE - The 1977 Malaysia Cup final took place 45 years ago on May 28, and saw Singapore lift the trophy after a 3-2 win in extra time over Penang.

Here, The Straits Times turns the spotlight back onto the players involved in that game - as well as the key figures on the touchline - who delivered the Republic's first success in the competition since independence.

Edmund Wee, 63

The youngest member of the starting XI, "Wonder Wee" was only 19 when he dislodged Eric Paine midway through the Malaysia Cup campaign. Played full-time in Hong Kong from 1981- 1989.

He worked as a sales executive and then later drove a taxi.

Hasli Ibrahim, 72

Fortified the right side of the Singapore backline with steady and reliable performances. Former teammates say he is suffering from ill health.

Syed Mutalib, 67

A no-nonsense defender known for his ferocious, tough-tackling style. After a car crash in 1983 curtailed his playing career, he opened a nasi briyani restaurant, but has since retired.

Samad Allapitchay, 72

Captain of the Singapore teams that made seven Malaysia Cup finals from 1975 to 1981, he became an icon for his leadership and unshakable performances at the heart of defence, which earned him the nickname "Rock of Gibraltar". One of only 14 players to earn 100 or more caps for the Republic.

Robert Sim, 69

Known for his fitness, Sim was an uncompromising fullback whose nickname was "The Char Kway Teow Man" because he often sent opponents flying the same way a hawker would fry up the local noodle dish.

V. Khanisen, 66

One half of a formidable central midfield pair, Khanisen retired from football in 1984 and earned a pilot's license a year later, before becoming a pilot with Singapore Airlines. He has since retired.

Zainal Abidin, 68

The other half of Singapore's midfield engine played for Terengganu, and continued to reside in Malaysia. Is said to be living in Malacca now.

Mohamed Noh

A reserved character who was thrust into the spotlight because of his skill as well as his good looks, "Mat Noh" walked away from football in 1981 at the age of just 26. He became a deeply religious man until his passing at the age of 67 in September 2021.

Quah Kim Song, 70

Scored a brace in the 1977 final. The youngest of the legendary Quah footballing brothers, he was known for his skill and speed, which earned him the nickname "Quicksilver Quah". He later moved into football administration until 2010. He is since retired and spends his days with his five grandchildren.

Singapore's Quah Kim Song nods the winning goal, during extra time, past the rooted Penang goalkeeper, Rahim Mohammed. ST FILE PHOTO

Dollah Kassim

The late Dollah earned the nickname "Gelek King" for his superlative dribbling skills. Moved into coaching briefly before working as an analyst with Singapore Pools. Died in 2010 aged 61, after suffering a heart attack a year prior during an exhibition game, which left him in a coma.

S. Rajagopal, 72

Famously known as "The Camel" for his stamina and galloping runs down the flanks, he is best remembered for his "banana kicks" from corners and set-pieces, which flummoxed many a defender.

One of the most colourful personalities in the team, he was the director of a logistics firm before retiring. Recently relocated to the Philippines.

Nasir Jalil

Nicknamed "Crazy Horse" for his boundless energy, he went on to play for Terengganu from 1981 until his retirement in 1988, when he decided to stay there and become a religious teacher. He also became a Malaysian citizen. Died in 2011 aged 55, after a seven-year battle with a brain tumour.

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Lim Teng Sai, 69

Famously came off the bench in the final against Penang to replace captain Samad at half-time and kept Penang's dangerous attack at bay.

Choo Seng Quee (head coach)

A charismatic, verbose, deeply religious, superstitious man and a scholar of the game, whose methods were said to be ahead of their time.

Groomed most of the players in the 1977 team since they were teens, and for the achievement was named Singapore sports' Coach of the Year in 1978.

Accidentally cut his foot with a razor in early 1977 but ignored the wound while it turned septic, preferring to focus on coaching, and eventually needed an amputation. Died in 1983 after kidney problems.

N. Ganesan (FAS Chairman)

Helmed the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) from 1974-1981, and widely credited as the driving force behind Singapore football's rise in the 70s.

Wooed Choo, who had been coaching in Malaysia and then only at club level in Singapore for a decade, back to coach Singapore despite objections from some in the local scene and was ultimately vindicated.

Died in 2015 at the age of 82, after suffering a stroke four years' prior.

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