Johari, born as Chua Eng Wah, was 76. He came from a family of hockey players. Two of his brothers – defender Eng Cheng and forward Eng Kim – played for Malaysia at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics. He also had another brother Eng Chye, who played for Malaya against Pakistan and India in the mid 1950s.
Johari, a right-half, was best remembered for helping Malaysia win the bronze medal for the first time in the 1962 Asian Games. He later went on to coach the Malaysian women’s team. Under him, Malaysia won the SEA Games gold medal in Jakarta in 1987 and in Kuala Lumpur in 1989.
Former international Datuk R. Yogeswaran said he was sad to learn of Johari’s demise.
“I played alongside him in the Asian Games in 1962 and he was close to his team-mates. He always took care of his team-mates,” recalled Yogeswaran, a former national coach and team manager.
Yogeswaran also revealed that Johari became a grandfather on Monday but passed away later in the day.
Lau Sau Foong, a former skipper of the national women’s team, also paid tribute to Johari.
“He coached the national women’s team from 1987-89. He was soft spoken but strict. And we used to call him coach Jo. To him, fitness was vital in sports and we were successful at the SEA Games,” said Sau Foong.