Santokh Singh: Football before money

Malaysian football legend Santokh Singh urged the current breed of local footballers to put their football ahead of everything else and be focused on delivering honours for the country.

The 62-year-old was speaking at the FAM 100-Plus National Football Awards, where he and other football legends such as Dato’ M.Chandran and Datuk Soh Chin Aun were honoured for winning a football bronze medal at the 1974 Asian Games. 

“Players during my days were committed, disciplined and motivated. Today’s footballers however sway towards the money and are not playing for the pride of the country.

“They seem to move clubs as soon as a bigger offer comes around.

“If you represent your state, you should stay loyal to that state, so that you become a force to be reckoned with.

“Loyalty plays a big part in football, and I don’t see it happening now.

“Don’t play for the money and fight for the flag.

 “[Not only that] teams have got to set a mark in terms of salary.

“If a player is consistent and outstanding, then you increase his wages gradually.

“I would note a player’s performance for two to three years before deciding to raise his salary.”

Santokh also wanted to see the local players being on par to the foreign imports, whom he said have outshone the Malaysians.

“Most of the foreigners signed are strikers, and they have outscored our local boys.

“This is not good for our football because we don’t have quality strikers.

“These boys shouldn’t be discouraged and should fight to earn their place in the team.”

The nine-time Malaysia Cup winner however is confident the national team can do well in the AFF Suzuki Cup later this month.

“I think the team can make it at least to the semi-final.

“The last time they won the Cup in 2010, the players were given all the limelight.

“They should aspire to repeat that performance for the country and end the year with a bang.”

(Picture: Kamarul Akhir/