SINGAPORE — Tributes poured in following news that former Malaysia Cup stalwart Mohamed Noh Hussein – affectionately known as "Mat Noh" – died on Monday morning (20 September) after suffering a heart attack on Sunday. He was 67.
The former winger was a mainstay in Singapore's 1977 Malaysia Cup-winning team alongside the likes of Quah Kim Song, S. Rajagopal and Samad Allapitchay.
A reluctant heartthrob owing to his matinee-idol looks, he also dazzled the Lions fans with his dribbling ability and playmaking skills, and became a household name in Singapore in the 1970s.
The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) paid tribute to Mat Noh in a Facebook post on Monday, saying that he scored the winning goal in a World Cup qualifying match against Malaysia on 6 March 1977, firing home a penalty in a 1-0 win at the National Stadium against a strong Malaysian side regarded as one of Asia's best at the time.
"The skillful attacker entertained with his dazzling dribbling prowess and body feints on the pitch. A nightmare for opposition defenders on the flanks, he was a member of the 1977 Malaysia Cup-winning side," FAS said in the post.
"Our sincerest thoughts and deepest condolences go out to his family and loved ones during this difficult time."
Once married local singing star
In 1977, Mat Noh married local singing star Rahima Rahim, and the couple had a daughter, Pearl Nur Hida, a year later. However, they divorced in 1988.
Rahima wrote on a Facebook post on Monday that her ex-husband has returned to God. "May he be placed among the righteous," she wrote.
Following his retirement from football after Singapore's 0-4 loss to Selangor in the 1981 Malaysia Cup final, Mat Noh is understood to have become a deeply religious man who stayed away from the limelight.
Former Lions striker Ho Kwang Hock, 66, said his ex-teammate was a favourite of legendary head coach Choo Seng Quee owing to his hard work and dedication off the pitch.
"He worked hard, never argued with anyone, and that’s how he became a notable footballer. He is a guy who didn’t want any publicity. He just knew deep down inside he had done his job and did it well," Ho said.
Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivan Balakrishnan wrote in a Facebook post that Mat Noh left many fond memories for his generation.
"The dazzling skills of Mat Noh and his teammates left indelible memories for my generation. The Malaysia Cup was a rite of passage for so many of us. May he rest in peace," he wrote.
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