WHO doesn’t know about Harimau Malaya (now Harimau Malaysia)? Especially the very team that made Malaysian history for qualifying for the Moscow Olympics in 1980?
If you ask those who were able to witness the iconic moves leading up to that very moment, they will definitely recall Hassan “Lipas Kudung” Sani running across the field smoothly evading tackles from two South Koreans, and right when he enters the opponent’s box, he swiftly passes the ball to James Wong who deftly avoids being tackled before kicking the ball straight into the net, defeating South Korea 2-1.
Even though Malaysia made it through, 65 administrations including the Malaysian government chose to boycott the Games in solidarity with Afghanistan, which underwent serious damage due to Russian military intervention.
“We were crushed and many of us were in tears. We felt sports and politics should be separate,” said former national defender Santokh Singh in an interview with Says when the team learned they weren’t going to Moscow.
If missing out on sports history is not up your alley fret not because Astro is paying tribute to these legends of the 80’s with a documentary shown nationwide in celebration of Malaysia Day.
Harimau Malaya 1980 is the comprehensive story of the Dream Team and their awe-inspiring adventure to beat the odds. The 1980 squad reunited after 36 years for this documentary which features exclusive interviews with legends including Soh Chin Aun, Hassan Sani, James Wong, Santokh Singh, former national squad coach Karl-Heinz Weigang, veteran sports commentator Zulkarnain Hassan, family members of the players who have passed on, and former Foreign Minister Ahmad Rithaudeen Tengku Ismail.
During the launch of the documentary earlier today, Minister of Communication and Multimedia Salleh Said Keruak brought up the importance of unity, citing the Dream Team as an example to look up to when it comes to bringing people together. He was also proud to have been able to witness the event in 1980.
I think it’s best for the political side to learn a thing or two from sports. If political players can learn from a sports person, maybe there’s a chance for Malaysia to be united in the true sense of being a Malaysian.
— Salleh Said Keruak, Minister of Communication and Multimedia
Tune into Harimau Malaya 1980 on Astro Arena (CH 801/ HD CH 802) and Astro SuperSport (CH 810/ HD CH 831) as well as Astro on the Go!