PENANG: Former national and Penang footballer Ali Bakar was laid to rest at the Perak Road Islamic Cemetery here yesterday evening.
Among those who attended the funeral of the 56-year-old Malacca Prisons Assistant Commissioner were the FA of Malaysia's (FAM) secretary general, Datuk Dell Akbar Khan; his former teammates Datuk Soh Chin Aun, Namat Abdullah, Santokh Singh, Shukor Salleh, Looi Loon Teik, Datuk Ibrahim Maidin and Mohd Bakar; and his brothers Omar, Osman and Isa.
Ali collapsed with a heart attack in a charity match between the Malaysian and Singapore veterans in Changi on Saturday.
Chin Aun, who also played the match at the Tampines Stadium, said that Ali's death came as a huge shock to everyone.
There was nothing wrong with him before the match. However, he just collapsed a few minutes into the match and we quickly rushed him to the hospital, said Chin Aun.
He was a great character and very friendly with everyone. His death is a great loss to the local football fraternity.
Dell, who announced that the FAM would meet soon to decide on the amount of donation for Ali's family, has only fond memories of his former roommate in overseas tournaments.
I started playing with Ali in the national youth squad in the 1966 Burnley Cup before moving on together to the senior team, said Dell.
His demise will be felt not only by his family and friends but all those connected with football in the country.
The former international players association donated RM2,000 to Ali's family.
Ali's body was flown in from Singapore at 5pm and he was laid to rest after a prayers session at the Kampung Rawana Mosque in Perak Road.
Ali was a member of the team for the 1972 Munich Olympics. He was also in the team who won the bronze medal in the 1974 Asian Games in Teheran.