Players from the magnificent amateur football club, Hotspurs, read the FMT article “Village Sportsmen who became national heroes” with great pride and nostalgia.
Through sports, Hotspurs ruled over the small Hot Spring New Village in Setapak, Kuala Lumpur, from the ’60s to the ’80s.
We were champions in more ways than one. We built camaraderie and unity in the multi-racial village.
Youngsters became leaders, youths were disciplined, and role models were created.
It was all possible due the availability of free and open spaces for various sports, dedicated elders, and eager and willing youths.
A supportive community and the willingness to train and pass on responsibilities spurred youngsters.
Hotspurs was the mother club of many of us who went on to gain national and international acclaim in football and hockey.
All these virtues of a strong community bond were portrayed in the article and we wish the ministry of youth and sports will take note of the factors that led to this small team’s success and hopefully replicate them.
The article also paid tribute to an era when sports was organised by many whose motivation was genuine passion with neither personal agenda nor material ambitions.
The participants had no material expectations and were prepared to sacrifice what little they had, so that they could pursue their love for sports.
They were also prepared to get together and raise funds in many novel but honest approaches. Accountability for every sen raised was the norm.
Schools and the educationists played their complementary roles effectively.
All these contributed toward unity and nation building.
Malaysia benefited from their sporting excellence at regional and international levels such as the Merdeka Tournament, SEAP/SEA Games, Asian Games, and the Olympics.
Sadly, many open green areas have been replaced by concrete monstrosities. Many neighbourhood clubs have been forced to shut for a variety of reasons. And administrators today appear to care little for sports.
It is no surprise that the nation’s sporting abilities have all but disappeared. We have been reduced to “Jaguh kampung”.
Former Hotspurs players Lt-Col (Rtd) Tommy Pereira and ex-national youth footballer S Supramaniam are FMT readers.
The views expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.