FORMER national player and Olympian Wong Choon Wah died early this morning after being rushed to hospital due to breathing difficulties.
He was 66.
Wong was one of the earliest Malaysian footballers to blaze the professional trail when he played for Hong Kong's South China Athletic Association from 1972 to 1974.
He was also fixture of the national team in the 1970s and played all three of Malaysia's matches at the 1972 Munich Olympics.
Wong was described by his former Selangor and national teammate Datuk Soh Chin Aun as one of the best midfielders produced by the country.
"I knew him very well, he was like a brother to me," said Soh today of Wong, who also helped Malaysia win the Merdeka Tournament in 1973 and 1974.
"He was a friend to everybody and one of the finest midfielders we ever had.
"We played together for Selangor and the national team and he also spent three years in Hong Kong as a professional."
Aside for Soh, Wong also played in the company of former greats like Datuk M. Chandran, Datuk Santokh Singh, Datuk Mokhtar Dahari and Tan Sri Ghani Minhat.
He made his Malaysia Cup debut for Selangor in 1968 after impressing with the Selangor Chinese Recreatioin Club and was rather a luck charm for them.
Selangor never lost a Malaysia Cup final when Wong was in the team, winning in 1968, 1969, 1971, 1975 and 1976.
Wong memorably scored two goals in an 8-1 rout of Penang in his first final appearance in 1968.
By Devinder Singh - NST