Malaysians abroad: The first millionaire to the player who never returned

In the first part of this FourFourTwo series, Vijhay Vick take a look at five Malaysians who left for greener pastures. Was it a success? Did they return? Who made their money?

Lim Teong Kim

Lim needs no further introduction. Having been the first Malaysian to play in Europe, Lim went on to become a Bayern Munich youth coach until he returned to Malaysia to spearhead a nationwide development programme in bid to qualify for the 2019 Under-17 World Cup and beyond.


Lim is now with the National Football Development Programme. Photo: NFDP

He turned out for then-third division side Hertha Berlin in 1987 for a season before returning to Malaysia to play for Kuala Lumpur, winning three consecutive Malaysia Cup trophies from 1987-1989.

He also had a brief stint with Austrian second division outfit Gak Graz in 1990 but his major break in Europe came in 2000 when he joined Bayern Munich as a youth coach, and years later become their under-19 assistant coach.

In 2013, Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin announced Lim as project director of the revamped National Football Development Programme (NFDP) and among the targets announced were to see Malaysia play first World Cup (of any age-group) in 2019 and groom a large pool of talent across the country.

The jury is still out there on Lim and NFDP but should he improve Malaysia’s footballing fortunes in time to come, the man who once worked with some of Germany’s brightest talents will enter Malaysian football folklore.