Malaysian Football Mourns Loss of Three Icons

Malaysian football is in mourning as three prominent figures in the sport passed away unexpectedly over three consecutive days. The heartbreaking sequence began with the legendary Khalid Ali succumbing to cancer at 66, followed by former international Moey Kok Hong’s demise due to heart complications at 56. The football community was then hit with the news of Azraai Khor Abdullah’s passing at 71 after suffering a stroke.

Azraai Khor Abdullah: A Dual Legacy

Azraai, born Khor Sek Leng, achieved a rare distinction in Malaysian football as both a successful player and coach. His illustrious career began as a midfielder with the Kedah team in 1970, and he played for the national team from 1975 to 1978. Azraai was part of the Malaysia team that won the Merdeka Cup and King’s Cup in 1976, playing alongside football greats.

Coaching Triumphs

Transitioning seamlessly into coaching, Azraai made history by becoming the only Malaysian coach to achieve the double treble. He led Kedah to sweep all titles in Malaysian football in 2007 and 2008. His coaching career commenced with Kedah’s President Cup squad in 1991, and he later served as a tactical team member under head coach Robert Alberts in 1993.

Legacy in Coaching

Azraai’s knack for developing young talent was evident in his role as the head coach of the national Harimau Muda squad in 2010. In 2011, he guided Negri Sembilan to the Malaysia Cup crown, showcasing his tactical prowess. Azraai went on to coach various teams, leaving an indelible mark on Malaysian football.

Tributes from Peers

Former teammates and players paid heartfelt tributes to Azraai, remembering him as a skilled and nippy player. Irfan Bakti Abu Salim, Azraai’s roommate during the 1976 Asian Cup, described him as a “nice person” and emphasized his immense contribution to Kedah football. Azraai’s influence extended beyond the field, with players like K. Gurusamy and Baddrol Bakhtiar crediting him for making a significant difference in their careers.

The sudden loss of Azraai Khor Abdullah adds to the somber atmosphere in Malaysian football, already reeling from the deaths of Khalid Ali and Moey Kok Hong. As the football community comes to terms with the departure of these icons, their contributions to the sport, both as players and mentors, will be remembered as a crucial part of Malaysia’s footballing legacy.

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