Headlines, Lifelines


Looking back at 100 Years of Singapore soccer

The New Paper, Nov 21, 1992


Quah Kim Song does an acrobatic feat by lifting himself off the ground to send in a scorching header in the fourth minute to give Singapore a bright start in last night's Malaysia Cup final.

1892 - 1992

1892: SINGAPORE soccer's earliest beginnings recorded on August 29, 1892, with the founding of the Singapore Amateur Football Association, the governing body of soccer before the turn of the century.

1921: BIRTH of the HMS Malaya Cup. Singapore won first Cup final on Oct 1, 1921, with a 2-1 win over Selangor in Kuala Lumpur. Both teams fielded a good number of Europeans.

1925: FIRST Malaya Cup final to be played in Singapore, at the now defunct Anson Road Stadium. Singapore beat Selangor 2-1 to be the first team to win the trophy three times in a row.

1933: A CROWD of 10,000 packed the Anson Road Stadium to watch Singapore score the biggest Malaya Cup final win -- an 8-2 thrashing of Selangor. Chia Keng Hock scored a hat-trick.

1950's: LEAGUE soccer gains popularity as expatriate teams like Royal Air Force and Marines were matched by the top local clubs -- Argonauts, Darul Afiah, Haikowyu, Joyful Indians, Pasir Panjang Rovers, Jollilads, Chinese Athletic, Indian Brotherhood and Tiger Standard.

1950's: THE late Soh Ghee Soon is the longest serving president of the Singapore Amateur Football Association -- from the early 1950's to 1963. Also a former Vice-president of the Asian Football Confederation.

1951: SKIPPER Harith Omar is chaired as he holds the Malaya Cup in 1951. Singapore beat Perak 6-1.

1960: SKIPPER Lee Kok Seng with the Malaya Cup, which Singapore won by beating Perak 2-0.

1966: QUAH Kim Swee leads Singapore to fourth-place in the Asian Games in Bangkok -- the best international soccer achievement this century. Singapore lost bronze medal (2-0) to Japan.

1974: GEORGE Suppiah becomes first Singapore soccer referee to officiate in the 1974 World Cup finals in West Germany. His career record: 43 international 'A' matches from 1953 to 1978.

1974: The eight-year chairmanship of lawyer Nadesan Ganesan, from 1974 to 1981, will probably go down in history as one of Singapore soccer's best eras. The Kallang Roar drove Singapore to two Malaysia Cup successes -- in 1977 and 1980.

1975: MAJOR breakthrough in National Football League (NFL), which was revamped from 118 clubs to 30. Geylang International wins top honours in the first three years.

1977: DOLLAH Kassim (right) hoists Malaysia Cup after Singapore beat Penang 3-2 in extra-time. Quah Kim Song netted the winner. Coach: Choo Seng Quee.

1977: LAUNCH of the Lion City Cup, hailed by FAS chairman N Ganesan as the only Under-16 soccer tournament in the world. It paved the way, at FIFA's request, for a World Youth U-16 tournament in China in 1985.

1980: ON June 28, coach Jita Singh (bottom) emulates Choo Seng Quee's feat three years earlier with a Malaysia Cup final victory -- a 2-1 win over defending champion Selangor. Fandi Ahmad, 17, scored the winner.

1981: SINGAPORE out of the Malaysia Cup for the first time since 1921.

1982: MERLION Cup, Singapore's first soccer international, is launched.

1983: "UNCLE" Choo Seng Quee (left), arguably the greatest post-war coach in Malaysia and Singapore, dies.

1989: FIRST foreign players for Singapore team -- Yugoslavs Josko Spanjic and Boris Lucic.

1992: AN all-time record crowd of 22,071 paid a record $58,000 on Feb 15 to watch the Premier League's "Battle of the Giants" between Geylang International and Tiong Bahru CSC, which ended 0-0.

1992: GEYLANG International wins the Premier League title for record fifth season, bringing its tally to eight since the domestic league was revamped in 1975.

1992: SINGAPORE goes down to Division Two of the Malaysia Cup Semi-Pro League for the first time since the competition started in 1921.

The Legends

Lancelot Maurice Pennefather: Extraordinary left-back of the 1920's. Renown for his vision and powerful kicks that set his wingers free.

"Pop" Lim Yong Liang: The first true star striker of Singapore whose deadly finishing saw him dominate the late 1920's and early 30's. Coached Singapore in the 1930's.

Dolfatah: Brilliant 1930's inside-forward whose fancy footwork, eye for openings and prolific scoring made him one of the most respected forwards in the region.

Chia Keng Hock: The original Bomber reigned from the mid-30's to in the War years. Tall, big and strong, his shots were unsavable. A hat-trick specialist.

Awang Bakar: The name spelt terror in the 1950's. An opportunist striker with unorthodox shooting and heading. He did nothing but score -- from any angle.

Chia Boon Leong: Tiny "Twinkletoes" was rated as the best inside-left in Malaya and China in the 50's. Unselfish creator of goals -- mostly for Awang Bakar

Rahim Omar: Classic striker of the 60's. A wizard blessed with deft skill, thunderbolt shots and pace. Acclaimed as first banana specialist in the region.

Quah Kim Swee: Speed demon of the 1960's whose fearless flying headers had left him with long scar on his forehead till today. Most feared winger in his time.

Majid Ariff: Midfield mastermind of the 60's. His flawless distribution was always incisive and penetrative. Only S'porean to represent Asian All-Stars.

Lee Kok Seng: Acclaimed as greatest post-war centre-half and captain of all captains. Singapore skipper for 11 years times from late 1950's to mid 60's.

Quah Kim Song: (See photo above right) Darling of the 70's. Fast, fearless and quick-thinking winger who wreaked havoc in the penalty area. Last and most famous of the footballing Quahs.

Dollah Kassim: (As pictured left) Dribbler extraordinare of the 70s. The "Gelek" king could take on three, four, five men in one breath-taking sweep. Superb pace and acceleration.

Fandi Ahmad: Idol of the 80's. Talented finisher whose acrobatic volleys and instinctive style make him a living legend. Acclaimed as God's gift to football.

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