PETALING JAYA: Rookie reporter Randhir Singh and fellow Malaysian reporters got more than they bargained for in their eagerness to interview Diego Maradona.
The Malaysian media made a beeline for the Argentine star when he came to Malaysia with his club Boca Juniors to play a friendly match against the Selangor Selection at the Merdeka Stadium on Jan 12,1982.
The Argentinian champions won the match 2-1 with the late Maradona setting up Carlos Cordoba for the equaliser in the 19th minute and then netting the winner in the 60th minute.
Selangor had earlier taken the lead through guest player Fandi Ahmad in the fourth minute.
Randhir who was with the Sports Mirror in the 80’s said greenhorn reporters were tasked with getting the post match reactions and that paved the way for him to get “up close and personal” with Maradona in the changing room.
“I was in the changing room with my female reporter friend Tham Choy Lin of Bernama and waiting for Maradona.
“Everyone wanted to interview him as he was the biggest star in the team at that time.”
“As we were waiting, Maradona after his shower sauntered in and dropped his towel and wanted to begin the interview.
“We were taken aback and Choy Lin was left stunned... we quickly got back to working mode and started asking questions.
“Nudity seems to be a norm for western athletes in the changing room and Maradona just continued to answer our questions with the help of his interpreter.”
Randhir remembers that Maradona was rather accommodating to the local press.
“He was OK to us press people. It’s normal in the sporting world where players’ agent orchestrated their press conferences, ” said Randhir.
“It was a good experience for me as rookie to interview a future global superstar then. It’s a memory that I will cherish forever.”
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