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Football: Majid Ariff, Singapore’s only Asian All-Stars footballer, dies aged 80

SINGAPORE – Majid Ariff, considered by many to be the greatest footballer Singapore has ever produced, died of pneumonia at about 2.45am on Sunday morning (Feb 4) at his daughter’s house in Tampines. He was 80. He leaves behind three children and 10 grandchildren.

A funeral prayer will be held at the Pusara Aman mosque this afternoon, before the body is laid to rest.

Majid’s health had deteriorated in the past month, after he suffered a stroke that affected part of his brain on Dec 23.

Majid, who made his debut for Singapore in 1958, hit numerous milestones as a player.

He was the only Singaporean to play for the Asian All-Stars team, turning out in exhibition matches against Fulham and Sheffield Wednesday in 1966, and against Leicester City in 1967.

His most famous moment came in the 1965 Malaya Cup final, where he dribbled past three Selangor players to score the equaliser which saw Singapore come back from a goal down to win 3-1.

A year later, Majid helped the national team finish fourth in the 1966 Bangkok Asian Games – still the Republic’s best result.

He called time on his career shortly after picking up a nasty knee injury in a Malaysia Cup match against Kelantan in 1970.

As a coach, his most famous protege is former national striker Fandi Ahmad, who once hailed Majid as “the most skilful player our country has ever produced”.

In 1998, both Majid and Fandi were the only Singaporeans among 116 top Asian players to be nominated for Asia’s Footballer of the Century award.

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