Journey to glory
> A new documentary pays tribute to Malaysia’s greatest national football team
IN CONJUNCTION with Hari Malaysia today, Astro will be presenting Harimau Malaya 1980. This documentary celebrates the glory days of Malaysian football, and the untold story of the legendary Harimau Malaya team which beat the odds and qualified for the 1980 Moscow Olympics.
Sadly, they were not able to compete, due to Malaysia boycotting the games that year.
The documentary will be shown on Astro Arena (Astro channel 801), and Astro SuperSport (Channel 810) tonight at 9pm. It is also available on Astro on the Go.
The documentary, which reunites the surviving squad members for the first time in 36 years, features exclusive interviews with local football legends including Datuk Soh Chin Aun, Hassan Sani, James Wong, Datuk Santokh Singh, and their coach, Karl-Heinz Weigang.
Also featured are veteran sports commentator Tuan Haji Zulkarnain Hassan and former Foreign Minister Tengku Tan Sri Ahmad Rithaudeen Tengku Ismail.
This filmmakers trace the players’ joys and tears, their struggles, achievements, and triumphs leading up to the team qualifying for the Moscow Olympics.
During the recent launch of the documentary on Sept 9, the icons of the 1980 Harimau Malaya team were joined by Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak, Communications and Multimedia minister, and Datuk Rohana Rozhan, group chief executive officer for Astro.
Several key individuals featured in Harimau Malaya 1980 also shared their feelings about the documentary:
Basir Siswo, the producer of Harimau Malaya 1980: “Producing the documentary was like piecing together a 36year-old jigsaw puzzle that had been stashed away in the store room for a long time.
“The highlight of the entire production was the emotional reunion of team members as they put on the national football jerseys once again, and walked into Stadium Merdeka to relive their memories.”
Datuk Soh Chin Aun, captain of the 1980 Harimau Malaya team: “We would like to thank Astro for the production of Harimau Malaya 1980, and for providing us with the opportunity to share first-hand, our story of what went on behind the scenes in the eventful journey to the Moscow Olympics.”
Karl-Heinz Weigang, team coach: “Together with the 1980 Harimau Malaya team, our journey in search of glory at the Moscow Olympics was an emotional one, filled with personal sacrifices and the struggle to achieve the impossible.”
James Wong, striker: “Recounting our personal experiences for the documentary was truly a sentimental journey for us. It was a memorable reunion when we got together as a team for the shooting.”
Haji Bakri Ibni, midfielder: “Our team was diverse, yet we had incredible camaraderie and team spirit. It was great to see the team reunited once again for this documentary.”
Datin Maria Selvie, widow of the late Datuk R. Arumugam, goalkeeper: “My husband would have been so proud. Even though he is not here, he is still a legend. He played for Malaysia. He loved the Malaysian team and his friends like Chin Aun, Santokh, and Mokhtar.”
All Astro and NJOI customers can catch the repeat broadcast of Harimau Malaya 1980 on Sept 17 in Bahasa Malaysia on Astro Prima (Channel 105) and Maya HD (Channel 135) at 10pm; in Mandarin on Astro AEC (Channel 301) at 4.30pm; and in Tamil on Astro Vaanavil (Channel 201) at 9pm.
Reliving the moment ... The 1980 Harimau Malaya football team reunited in the documentary; and (right) with Astro and ministry officials at the launch of Harimau Malaysa 1980.