PETALING JAYA: Former Malaysian goalkeeper Chow Chee Keong died early today, believed to be due to heart complications. He was 69.
Rated as one of the best goalkeepers the country has ever produced, Chow made his international debut at the tender age of 15 in the mid-1960s, playing alongside the likes of M Chandran, N Thanabalan and the Quah brothers, Kim Siak and Kim Swee.
In 1968, he attracted the attention of many Hong Kong clubs when playing for the Malaysian Chinese team, and joined Hong Kong Rangers FC for three guest matches.
He later signed up with Jardine FC for a then record salary of HK$2,500 a month.
Nicknamed “Asian Stainless Steel Gate”, Chow even attracted interest from Cruzeiro after the Brazilian club played a friendly in Hong Kong.
Chow, who was voted Asia’s best by the Asian Football Confederation five times in a row between 1966 and 1970, became a professional golfer after retiring from football. Until his death, he was teaching golf.
Former sports journalist George Das described Chow as a humble person who was not only a brilliant goalkeeper but a good forward.
“He could dribble too, when playing in an outfield position. If he got the ball in front of the goal he would score. I was lucky to have watched him play. It’s not every day we get to watch a player like him,” said Das, who was Chow’s senior in St Johns Institution, Kuala Lumpur.
Chow leaves behind his wife Christina Kwok and son, Adrian.
The family has announced that “a celebration of Chow’s life” will be held at the Nirvana Memorial Centre in Sungei Besi, Kuala Lumpur tomorrow and Friday, from 2pm to 11pm (both days).
There will also be a wake service at 8.30pm on Friday, with the funeral service starting at 10am on Saturday. While both services will be held at Nirvana Memorial Centre in KL, Chow’s remains will be taken to the Nirvana Crematorium in Shah Alam to be cremated after the funeral service.