PETALING JAYA: He was super-fit, he ran like a gazelle, he had the stamina of a racehorse. To top it all off, he had great vision on the pitch, too.
That is how his friends describe former football international V. Krishnasamy, a giant of the game when Malaysia dominataed the region in the 70s.
Krishnasamy, a Penang boy turning out for local clubs like Waterfall Rangers and Penang Indian Association, broke into the big-time when he joined the Prisons Department in 1969 and was involved in football from 1969-1980. Prisons then had one of the best teams, with many internationals.
He featured in the FAM Cup and the Malaysia Cup for Penang and Perak before going on to represent the country at various levels from 1970-1976 with the 1972 Munich Olympics becoming the pinnacle of his career.
Krishnasamy, who had his leg amputated a year ago, had been ill for a while now. He died on Sunday.
The Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah and Raja Permaisuri Agong Tunku Hajah Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah were among the many who paid respects to the former Olympian.
In a statement via Istana Negara’s Facebook page, the King also expressed sadness and hoped Krishnasamy’s family members will remain calm in this difficult time.
“We deeply appreciate the deceased’s services and dedication. His passing is a great loss to the nation.
“His contribution and sacrifices will always be remembered, ” said the King.
The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM), in a post on their official Facebook page, also conveyed their condolences to the family.
The midfielder had turned out for Penang, Perak and Prisons Department in the M-League, was nicknamed “The Machine” or “Iron Man” during his heyday because of his tough streak and tendency to get back in the game even after an injury.
Former national striker Shaharuddin Abdullah, who played with Krishnasamy in the Prisons, Penang and national team, said his colleague, who retired with the rank of Sergeant-Major, was a complete midfielder.
He said Krishnasamy’s vision was evident in their 0-3 loss to West Germany at the Munich Olympics.
“He told me about Uli Hoeness’ playing style and asked me to be watchful of his left leg... we managed to deny Hoeness from scoring in that game.”
Shaharuddin also revealed that Krishnasamy’s legendary stamina came from his diet of “kacang kuda” (chickpeas).
“He was always looking to learn from other people, especially from the seniors. He always asked my brother Namat for tips to improve his game, ” said Shaharuddin.
“As a midfielder, his combination with Shukor Salleh was magical. He could pass, tackle and build up play from the midfield. His assists made me a good striker.”
Datuk Soh Chin Aun, who also played in the national team with Krishnasamy, said his former teammate was a gem on and off the pitch.
“We were all young at the time... so we were all raring to go at the Munich Olympics and we really went all out during the matches, ” said the former national team skipper.
“He always gave his best on the pitch and worked his socks off. His speciality was his stamina, he could never get tired.”