FORMER international Nasir Yusof may look different but the midfielder has not lost his scoring touches.
Nasir, who was considered as one of the best midfielders in the Malaysia Cup football competition in the 1980s, scored from a free kick to help Johor win the inaugural Malaysia Day Ex-Internationals/State Invitational Soccer 9s at the Victoria Institution ground in Kuala Lumpur recently.
In the final against Singapore, Nasir, sporting a goatee, fired from 30 metres and the ball sailed past Shahri Rahim.
It was the only goal of the match and Johor, as the champions, won the Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah challenge trophy. They also took home RM2,500. Singapore received RM1,000.
For his impressive display, Nasir was voted as the Best midfelder of the competition.
Besides Nasir, Johor had several seasoned players like Mohd Salleh Mohd Noor, Kamaruddin Ahmad, Salehan Mohd Som and Tan Yee Kee on their side.
Singapore, coached by Samad Allapitchay, had Razali Saad, Razali Rashid, Ahmad Sayuti and Malek Awab, who was the captain.
Singapore’s Shahri and Razali Saad were voted as the best goalkeeper and best defender respectively.
Thailand’s former international Surachai Poosuwan was the tournament’s top scorer with six goals.
Twelve teams, including four foreign, took part in the three-day competition, organised by the Ex-State & Ex-National Footballers Association of Malaysia.
After the preliminary rounds, the top two teams from the three groups advanced to the second round while the third-placed teams played in the Plate category.
Western Australia took home the Plate category after winning 5-4 on penalties after the match against Kedah ended scoreless.
The sponsors were Astro Arena, Milo, Gatorade, Carlsberg, Bata and Universal Fitness Leisure (UFL).
Organising chairman Bahwandi Hiralal said they were pleased with the response for the competition.
“This is the first time we are organising this unique competition. We had received encouraging and positive feedback from the players. For many of the players, it was an opportunity to meet their old friends who were foes on the football pitch.
“We are also grateful to the sponsors who had contributed to the competition,’’ said Bahwandi.
Former international and Selangor flanker K. Kanagarajah was present at the venue to meet his old friends.
“I had lost touch with many of them. Some of them have changed physically. But I feel good meeting them again after a long time,’’ said Kanagarajah.
Tengku Abdullah, the deputy president of Football Association of Malaysia, and former Asian Football Confederation (AFC) secretary Datuk Peter Vellapan gave away the prizes to the winning teams.