Mention Crazy Horse and the younger generation will think of the topless cabaret show at Clarke Quay. But mention Crazy Horse to the 'laodies' (‘lao’ as in 老, meaning Old, a term coined by Chun See’s naughty daughter) like Adrian, Chun See, Peter or Chun Chew, and immediately they think of the Malaysia Cup soccer matches at the National Stadium in the 1970's.
Yes, those days were the prime of Singapore’s soccer craze and every match had the stadium filled to capacity. The most well-treasured match was the one between Singapore and Penang in 1977 which attracted a capacity crowd of 70,000, and which we won by the score line of 3-2 in extra time.
During that time, tickets were sold on match day and I went with my brother and another friend. We paid for tickets at the entrance. But it was really shocking to see so many people all pushing one another to get in. In the end, we entered the stadium without paying as it was complete mayhem. I will always remember the sight of the pile of slippers, sandals and shoes near the entrance. Many supporters actually took off their footwear and climbed into the stadium via the pillars!!! After that incident, the stadium authorities put up barbed wires around those pillars.
Anyway, I do not intend to try and describe the experience of watching one of these games live. But I just want to share with you some of the famous and funny names of those days; Let's see now ... there was;
- Nasir Jalil better known as The Crazy Horse, or Siow Bay in Hokkien; and also known as the Super Sub. He was famous for running about for nothing but scored a crucial goal in a final.
- Rajagopal, our defender who was famous for his banana (corner) kicks and galloped confidently down the flanks. He was known as The Camel.
- Dollah Kassim was known as the Gelek King because of his feints with which he was able to shake of his defenders before scoring.
- Quah Kim Song was known for his bursts of speed.
- Mohd Nor was the handsome one and known for his style and grace. He married the gorgeous singer Rahimah Rahim.
- Seak Poh Leong, the captain was notorious at penalty kicks; some called him “Sack” Poh Leong.
- Leong Kok Fann, another speedster, was effective coming in at half time.
- Goal keepers: Lee Bee Seng had good anticipation & catching shots at high crosses. Edmund Wee was short but good at saving penalties, especially grounders.
- And many other well-loved names like Robert Sim (The Tank), Hasli Ibrahim (hard tackler), Samad Alapichay (uncompromising) chest-out, and Malek Awab, short midfielder, speedy, good turning, a team player.
On the Malaysian side (These guys seemed to perform extra well whenever they do battle with Singapore.), we had:
- Arumugam, The Spider, the goalie of Selangor – he had the reputation of having arms that reached below his knees; all eight of them.
- Soh Chin Aun the captain of Malacca was known as The Towkay.
The most memorable goal was Ashad Khamis’ 35 meter goal that caught the goal keeper sleeping. Can't remember which match.
But the man we loved most in any match was the referee. The poor guy got booed every time he made a decision against Singapore and everyone loved to chant Referee Kayu, Referee Kayu (for foreign readers .. kayu is Malay for wood). The other guy we loved to hate was the linesman - Linesman Bodoh, Linesman Bodoh (Bodoh is stupid in Malay) was our favourite chant.
But any trip down the Malaysia Cup memory lane is incomplete without mentioning our most beloved commentator, Brian Richmond. His collection of unique and colourful expressions include:
- “It was raining cats and dogs”.
- “The defence was in sixes and sevens”,
- “He put his big boot to the ball”, and my all-time favourite,
- “He plucked the ball out of the air like a bunch of ripe rambutans”.
Disclaimer: I am not responsible for the misleading title of this article. The owner Chun See responsible for that one.