FORMER international N. Thanabalan, who scored four goals for Selangor in the Malaysia Cup final in 1968, shared his experience with participants during a Tamil schools futsal tournament in Batang Kali.
The tournament was an initiative by Deputy Education Minister P. Kamalanathan. who is also the Hulu Selangor MP, to acknowledge Thanabalan’s contribution to Malaysian football.
“Thanabalan is a legend. The country is proud to have a dedicated and committed forward who puts fear in his opponents. We invited him to inspire the young players involved in this futsal competition. The younger generation should also be aware of the sacrifices of the former international in his pursuit to excel in football.
“His four goals in the 1968 Malaysia Cup final is a record and no one has beaten that,’’ said Kamalanathan.
Thanabalan’s four goals helped Selangor score a 6-2 win over Penang. Thanabalan first represented the country when he was 17 years old at the 1960 Asian Youth tournament and later graduated to the senior team from 1963 to 1971. Thanabalan had earned 107 caps.
In the 1968 Merdeka tournament which Malaysia won 3–0 in the final against then Asian powerhouse Burma (now known as Myanmar), Thanabalan scored a total of eight goals in six matches.
As a national player, Thanabalan had represented Malaysia at the Merdeka Tournament, SEAP Games, Asian Games, Kings Cup in Thailand and Vietnam Cup.
He also represented Malaysia in friendly matches against Arsenal FC, Asian All Stars and the Western Australian team. After his playing days, Thanabalan was involved with club sides such as Kilat Club, TPCA FC and Sentul Indian Rangers.
He was also one of the founding members of the Ex-State & Ex-National Footballers’ Association of Malaysia. He is currently the vice-president.
During the competition involving six schools in Hulu Selangor, Thanabalan took the opportunity to share his experience not only with the players but also parents and teachers.
SJK(T) Bukit Beruntung became the champions after defeating SJK(T) Kuala Kubu Baru 2-0 in the final. SJK(T) Bukit Beruntung received the challenge trophy and RM300 cash while SJK(T) Kuala Kubu Baru settled for the RM200. SJK(T) Sg Choh were third and received RM100.
Kamalanathan also presented footballs to the participating schools.