Lim Tong Hai: Perfect XI

The former Malaysia Cup winner with Singapore picks a Perfect XI of the best players he's gone up against.

GK: David Lee

David has helped me in my game a lot. He had a commanding presence at the back, an extra pair of eyes that made life easier for us defenders. Anything within the six-yard box, he’d come out and take charge. If it was at 18 yards, he’d tell the defenders whether to go for it. A no-nonsense character.

RB: Kadir Yahaya

I’ve played with Kadir in the National Team, but he’s a tough nut to crack whenever I go up against him at club level. He will patrol the right flank, probably with what seems like ten oxygen tanks behind his back, and he will just terrorise his side of the pitch by running up and down all day. The Bedok Express!

CB: Mohammad Khakpour

He’s one guy who’s very difficult to get past. I’ve never been his teammate (he was at Geylang while I was at Tiong Bahru) but I’ve heard a lot about him… his training attitude and his discipline in taking care of himself. A true professional!

CB: Alan Davidson

A defender who reads the game really well, he was the main man at the back for Pahang back in the 1990s. He’s someone who commands respect from the players. When we played them in 1994 and we found out he wasn’t playing in the Malaysia Cup final, I think half the battle was won.

LB: Dusit Chalermsan

Dusit was part of the Thailand team that reigned in Asia in the mid to late 90s. A very charismatic player with a good left peg, he is an efficient defender who can also deliver killer balls for the strikers to run on to.

RM: Malek Awab

Malek compliments Kadir really well on the right side. Even if he knows that he has no chance of getting the ball, even if it’s a 40-60 chance, he’ll just go in with the tackle!

CM: Surachai Jaturapattarapong

A world-class player. He plays simple football but it’s so efficient, linking the defence and attack. Surachai makes football seem so simple, but he was so difficult to play against.

CM: Lim Teong Kim

My uncle was a former national player in Malaysia who actually played in the Bundesliga for a season with Hertha Berlin! Had a very powerful left foot and a high work rate. A no-nonsense midfielder.

LM: Dollah Salleh

Dollah would link up so well with Zainal, the two are like blood brothers. Just like Malek and Fandi!  Dollah and Zainal would link up pretty well in my team.

CF: Zainal Abidin Hassan

Whenever I played against him, I would enjoy the competition between us although I knew that I would have a tough time getting the ball from him. He’s big but he was also skilful and able to shield the ball well to go with his knack of scoring goals. He’d always seem to be in the right place at the right time and usually came out on top against me!

CF: Fandi Ahmad

Fandi was so difficult to play against whether he was playing for Geylang or Pahang. He had this ability to strike fear into opposing defenders. For me, I knew his tricks so not so much but even if you know he’s going to perform them, he’ll still get past you. He was a leader who was able to rally the team around him.

Substitutes

CB: Jang Jung

I played against him when he was at Perak, and he commanded the defence really well. Although he couldn’t really speak good English, there was this understanding with his teammates and he could communicate using signals.

LM: Lee Man Hon

Back in his heyday, Man Hon was a rare talent. He had a good left foot that was able to deliver pinpoint crosses. Work rate, not really but his delivery of the ball was superb. You need hard workers in the team, but you also need the ones who can give you that final ball! Back then, he had so much potential.

CF: Scott Ollerenshaw

When he was playing for Sabah, he was the main guy up front. He’s not a very big guy, but he’s always running and I found it so difficult to play against him. He would compliment Zainal very well, you have one tall chap and one not so tall one!