Tragedy struck the Football Association of Singapore staff coach during a charity game at the Indian Association. The match was organised by some former players, including Sivalingam, and friends to raise money for former Woodlands Wellington winger S. Anthonysamy, who was paralysed after a tackle in 1996.
Some of the ex-Malaysia Cup veterans present were V. Sundramoorthy and Abbas Saad. Former Singapore international R. Suriamurthi, also a FAS staff coach, was on the sidelines of the pitch when his colleague collapsed suddenly.
"Sivalingam has no health problems that I am aware of. The match kicked-off at 5pm and he played for half an hour before falling forward, face down," said Suriamurthi.
"He was unconscious and his mouth was bleeding as a result of the fall. A doctor and nurse, who were on the sidelines, attended to him immediately. An ambulance came within minutes but after Sivalingam reached Tan Tock Seng Hospital, he was pronounced dead at about 5.50pm."
Sivalingam led the Asian Youth Games team out on home soil in July. Although the Under-14s lost to Iran (1-2), Thailand (1-4) and China (0-3), the team earned kudos for their gutsy performances. -ST.