Salim Moin, a star of Singapore football in the 1980s who once memorably scored four goals in a SEA Games match against the Philippines, died late on Friday from a heart attack. He was 59.
It is understood he had complained of chest pains on Friday and was taken to Sengkang General Hospital, near his Hougang apartment. He leaves behind his wife, son and daughter.
Salim, a striker who was also adept in midfield, played for the Singapore FA, which represented the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) in Malaysian domestic competitions from 1979 to 1993.
He scored 63 goals in 176 appearances for the team and helped them win the 1980 Malaysia Cup. He also played for the national team in the 1980s and 1990s.
Together with Fandi Ahmad and V. Sundram Moorthy, they were part of a formidable forward line that featured at the 1983 Games on home soil. They beat Malaysia 2-1 and the Philippines 5-0 in the group stage before hammering Brunei 4-0 in the semi-finals, but fell 2-1 to Thailand in the final.
Fandi, 58, described his former teammate as a dedicated and remarkable player.
He told The Sunday Times yesterday: “He was a colourful character both on and off the pitch.
“Off the pitch, he was a jovial person, always cracking light-hearted jokes and carrying a warm spirit everywhere he went.
“He will be greatly missed by many people and Singapore football has lost one of its heroes.”
After calling time on his playing career, he went into coaching and had stints at Tampines Rovers, Woodlands Wellington and Hougang United, where he was assistant coach from December 2018 until recently. He also coached the former National Football Academy from 2009 to 2010.
Last year, he helped the Cheetahs to third place in the Singapore Premier League, their best result, and qualify for the AFC Cup.
The FAS, in its tribute, said it was shocked and saddened by the news.
Hougang described him as “an integral part of our 2019 side that propelled the club to our best finish last season, cherished for his heart and personality on and off the pitch”.
Hougang head coach Clement Teo, 54, worked with Salim since the 1990s.
“It’s not sunk in yet and it feels like something in my life is missing now,” he said, still in shock. “He was a very strict coach and the players respected him. Tactically, he’s the best I know in Singapore and he was very knowledgeable. He played a huge role in getting Hougang to where (we) are today.
“He helped me a lot and he was someone I could rely on. I’ve learnt a lot from him, not just in football but in life as well.”
Former Lions coach Jita Singh, who worked with Salim in the 1980s, remembers him as a hardworking player who stood up for what he believed in.
Singh, 71, said Salim made his mark at 1983 Games with his long-range strikes and added: “He did quite well as a coach because whatever he practised as a player, he preached as a coach. He was a dedicated person with good character and he was approachable but at the same time, he didn’t compromise.
“If he takes something on, he’s very serious about it. That was one of his hallmarks.”