Ensure they are not forgotten

I REFER to Rajes Paul’s report, “A reunion to remember” (StarSport, Sept 5; bit.ly/star_memory). The announcement by Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) President Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin that it is organising a gathering to honour Datuk Namat Abdullah and the 1972 Munich Olympic Games team is welcome news indeed. Although long overdue, this move is a step in the right direction to honour the only Malaysian football team that played in the Olympics. And kudos to The Star for keeping alive the story of these remarkable football players.

I recall that prior to the qualifying games in Seoul in 1971, very few people expected Malaysia to beat the likes of South Korea and Japan, as South Korea was playing at home and Japan had won bronze at the 1968 Olympics. However, the underdogs rose to the occasion by beating Japan 3-0 in the first game and then edging hosts South Korea 1-0. Olympics qualification was sealed with victories over China and the Philippines. Another notable feat was the fact that Malaysia did not concede a single goal.

It is also laudable that the FAM also plans to invite medallists from the 1962 and 1974 Asian Games and the team that qualified for the 1980 Moscow Olympics (Malaysia joined the international boycott that year) for the gathering. I urge the Youth and Sports Ministry to do its part to honour these sporting heroes too, perhaps by documenting their stories in books and producing visuals on social media platforms to ensure their contributions are preserved for the benefit of the younger generation of Malaysians.


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