Tara’s legacy of turning a small club into giant killers will live on

Legend in his own right: Tara Singh was honoured during South City FC’s 50th anniversary.

PETALING JAYA: Unheralded Tara Singh Pall Singh was a football legend in his own right.

Tara passed away on Oct 28 at the age of 74 but had left behind a lasting impression how he had worked wonders with a small club in Selangor – South City FC – and that legacy will live forever.

Through his passion, dedication and sacrifices, the unknown club became “giant killers” and turned heads.

The club, who were only a village team then knowned as Red Devils were formed in 1967 at the JKR quarters in Salak South.

They went on to win many seven-a-side tournaments and eventually, Tara renamed it South City FC in 1969 and made their debut in the FA of Selangor Reserve league in 1976.

Training at a community field in Salak South, Tara was the goalkeeper, which was rare to see a Sikh boy playing in that position.

He played a big role and steered the club from division 3 to the top division in 1982.

That year, they won promotion to the Selangor Premier League, which was the highest level before the Dunhill league was introduced in 1984.

Tara took a year’s break and returned as manager in 1984 and led them to the Premier League title and earned promotion to the Dunhill league in 1985, where they finished fifth in the 12-team field.

They created history when they qualified as Selangor’s representative in the FAM Cup – the national club tournament, before losing in the third round.

Tara’s dedication did not go unnoticed and was offered a seat in the FA of Selangor council but he refused as he wanted to focus on the development of football in rural areas.Players who came under his tuelage were P. Somasundaram, Basil Johnny, R. Kannan, and R. Sivakumar to name a few.

Due to financial constraints and the rise of “the big boys” who were supported by major banks, government agencies and corporate sectors, South City’s fall was inevitable.

Today, the club still exist but are now more into social veteran events which Tara participated to lend his support.

Three years ago, Tara, married to Manjit Kaur, was honoured during the club’s 50th year anniversary.

Both his sons Kiranjit and Shiranjit are also involved in football.

Kiranjit, who used to play for Public Bank and the president of the veteran International Football Club (IFC) said: “Our involvement in the sport is because of our father, whom we used to follow during his playing days.

“Later, he supported our involvement in the game and encouraged us. We will miss him greatly.”

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