Sunday, August 15, 2010

Koh's death a big loss

The death of former Malaysian FIFA referee and current Football Association of Selangor (FAS) Referees Board Chairman Koh Guan Kiat was a great loss to the Malaysian football fraternity.

Selangor FA secretary Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin who is also the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) vice president said Koh was a dedicated and meticulous official, both as a referee or as the referees board chairman.

According to Hamidin, Koh loved football and had always worked and contributed towards the betterment of football in Selangor, especially refereeing.

Koh, 74, who passed away at his son's house in Vista Komanwel, Bukti Jalil at 8.05pm on Friday leaves behind his wife Chiew Soo Duoi and four children, a boy and three girls.

During his days as a referee in the 70s and 80s, he had officiated many international matches and was a much respected official who did not compromise on the quality of play and was always alert and on his toes.

Meanwhile, Subkhiddin Mohd Salleh who was among a selected few who were picked as referees for the World Cup in South Africa recently said, Koh was like a father among referees.

"He was always available for guidance and advise. He was always ready to teach the trade that he had mastered, to young aspiring referees and never blamed referees whenever something went wrong.

"Even when I was selected as a referee for the World Cup, I sought his advise and though he was very weak during that time, he was inspired by my presence, he hugged me and told me to go out there and prove that Malaysian referees were as good as any referee in the world.

"I did not realise it would be our last meeting," said Subkhiddin who referred to Koh as 'Papa'.

He added that Koh's name was still popular among senior referees in Japan and South Korea. Other referees during his era were S. Karthrivale, Steven Ovinis, Datuk George Joseph and Nik Ahmad Yaakub.

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