PETALING JAYA: Former national footballer Chow Kwai Lam passed away at the Ampang Puteri Hospital this morning. He was 76.
Chow represented Malaysia from 1965 to 1971.
He went on to become a coach for Selangor, Sarawak and Kuala Lumpur.
When contacted, former Malay Mail sports editor Tony Mariadass said Chow, whom he had known since the 1970s, recently suffered a second stroke.
Mariadass said Chow was a firebrand coach.
“He was a tough coach, a no-nonsense person,” he told FMT.
Off-field, Chow was a different person, according to Mariadass, although he did not open up to anyone easily.
“He called me to wish me a happy birthday last month.”
Former Malaysian forward N Thanabalan also praised Chow as a good defender who knew how to read a game well.
“He was a hard tackler. It was difficult for strikers to get past him,” he said when contacted.
However, Chow’s illustrious career was marred in 2007, when he was fined S$50,000 in default of four months’ jail for attempted bribery involving a Singapore League (S-League) match in 2005.
He was accused of offering cash to Zulkifli Zainolabidin, who was then the first-choice goalkeeper of the Paya Lebar-Punggol Football Club.
The money, according to reports, was to induce Zulkifli to intentionally allow the opposing team, Home United, to score two or three goals in the match against Paya Lebar-Punggol on June 16, 2005.
Chow, however, maintained his innocence and was quoted by The Star as saying: “I think 80% of the people in Malaysia know I am not involved.”