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The Man Who Saved "KALLANG ROAR"

Mr Lim Teng Sai in his younger days (as credited)

The story was shared by former Singapore national defender Mr Lim Teng Sai during the launch of the book "ROAR: Football Legends of Singapore" at the Jalan Besar Stadium (JBS) days ago.

The former center-half approached a group of us during the friendly match between Singapore ex-internationals, which featured some of his former teammates, and their Malaysian counterparts, as he would like to peruse the book that documented the football history of Singapore.

The friendly match, which was won 2-0 by the hosts, was part of the launch of the book authored and edited by long-time Singapore football supporter Mr A Thiyaga Raju and sports writer Mr Gary Koh respectively.

The blogger with Mr Lim at the JBS

Elated to see his name being featured in the list of the players in the book, he went on to oblige a fan's request to sign on a few pictures of his taken during his playing days in the 1970s.

Pointing towards the direction where the Jalan Besar Swimming Complex is, Mr Lim said: "We used to stay in the dormitory over there.", recalling the days when the national team held their centralised training session under the watchful eyes of the legendary "Uncle" Choo Seng Quee.

Along the chat, this blogger took the opportunity to confirm with the 69-year-old that the singing of the national anthem with full gusto was one of the first things in the morning under the instruction of Uncle Choo, much to the annoyance of some residents nearby.

THE PENALTY THE SAVED THE ROAR

Mr Lim went on to share an interesting nugget of his playing days.

"I scored the last-minute penalty that won us the match (against Negeri Sembilan in 1974), if not there wouldn't be any Malaysia Cup matches played at the (old) National Stadium," shared Mr Lim who was one of many proteges nurtured by Uncle Choo at the nearby Farrer Park.

The former Toa Payoh United star revealed when the penalty was awarded to Singapore after a foul committed by Negeri's defender Dhamlinggi by referee Kabal Singh, the usual spot kickers did not move forward to place the ball on the dot.

It was because the match, being the very first Malaysia Cup match to be played at the then newly-erected arena, was seen as a feasibility gauge to see if games of this popular tournament could be held there on a consistent basis after which.

The Straits Times' headline of Mr Lim's heroics (NLB archive)

"So I took the penalty and it went in." recalled Mr Lim who claimed that he did not know the importance of the goal and the match before he stepped forward, and had no idea why the usual penalty takers like the late 'Raja Gelek', Mr Dollah Kassim opted not to take the decider.

He added a relieved Mr N Ganesan came and offered his congratulations to him after the match, as it was the then Football Association of Singapore (FAS) vice-chairman who pushed for the bold proposal to stage the Malaysia Cup matches in the 55,000-capacity arena from the 10,000-seated JBS.

The rest was history after the match that saw a new chapter in the folklore of local football - the birth of the "Kallang Roar".  

(P.S 1: Some images in this entry were reproduced from online sources, as credited, should anyone feel it's inappropriate to have any of the media shown, please kindly email me as soon as possible and I will remove them upon request.)

(P.S 2: I stand to be corrected should there be any mistake in this entry, please feel free to email me if there is, thanks)

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