SINGAPORE - Salim Moin, a star of Singapore football in the 1980s who once memorably scored four goals in a SEA Games match against the Philippines, died late Friday (Nov 6) night from a heart attack. He was 59.
It is understood he had complained of chest pains on Friday and was taken to Sengkang General Hospital, near his Hougang apartment. He leaves behind his wife, son and daughter.
Salim, a midfielder with a penchant for long-range strikes, played for the Singapore FA, which represented the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) in Malaysian domestic competitions, as well as the national team, in the 1980s.
Later on, he played for Premier League and National Football League clubs like Geylang International, Tiong Bahru, Admiralty and Tampines Rovers in the early 1990s.
Together with Fandi Ahmad and V. Sundram Moorthy, they were part of a formidable forward line that featured at the 1983 Games on home soil.
They beat Malaysia 2-1 and the Filipinos 5-0 in the group stage before hammering Brunei 4-0 in the semi-finals. They fell short of claiming the gold medal however, losing 2-1 to Thailand in the final.
Fandi, 58, described his former teammate as a dedicated and remarkable player.
He told The Straits Times on Saturday (Nov 7): "He was a colourful character both on and off the pitch. Off the pitch, he was a jovial person always cracking light-hearted jokes and carrying a warm spirit everywhere he goes.
"He will be greatly missed by many people and Singapore football has lost one of its heroes."
After calling time on his playing career, he went into coaching and had stints at local clubs like Balestier Khalsa, Tampines Rovers, Woodlands Wellington and Hougang United, where he was assistant coach from December 2018 till recently.
He also coached the former National Football Academy from 2009 to 2010.
Last year, he played a pivotal role in the Cheetahs' successful Singapore Premier League campaign that saw them achieve their best result of third place and qualify for the AFC Cup.
The FAS paid tribute to Salim and said it was shocked and saddened by the news while Hougang described him as "an integral part of our 2019 side that propelled the club to its best finish last season, cherished for his heart and personality on and off the pitch".
Its head coach Clement Teo, 54, has worked with Salim since the 1990s and said he is still in shock.
"It's not sunk in yet and it feels like something in my life is missing now," he said.
"He was a very strict coach and the players respected him. Tactically, he's the best I know in Singapore and he's very knowledgeable. He played a huge role in getting Hougang to where they are today.
"He has helped me a lot and he's someone I can rely on. I've learnt a lot from him, not just in football but in life as well."
Former Lions coach Jita Singh, who worked with Salim in the 1980s, remembers him as a hardworking player who stood up for what he believed in.
Singh, 71, said Salim made his mark at 1983 Games with his long-range strikes and added: "He did quite well as a coach because whatever he practised as a player, he preached as a coach. He was a dedicated person with good character and he was approachable but at the same time, he doesn't compromise.
"If he takes something on, he's very serious about it. That was one of his hallmarks."