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Malaysians abroad: The one who upstaged Hoeness and Hitzfeld

In the second part of this FourFourTwo series, Vijhay Vick takes a look at another five Malaysians who dared to step outside their comfort zone.

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Wong Choon Wah

Did you know that there was once a Malaysian who was picked ahead of German greats Uli Hoeness and Ottmar Hitzfeld for a man of the match award?

Enter Wong Choon Wah – arguably the finest midfield general Malaysia have produced. Wong manned the engine room in Malaysia’s only Olympic appearance in 1972, where he stood out against West Germany despite being on the losing side.

The former Selangor star was among Malaysia’s first footballers to venture into professional football when he signed for South China AA in Hong Kong after the Olympics.

Wong, who started out at Selangor Chinese Recreational Club, had two spells at Selangor sandwiching his two-year Hong Kong stint. Selangor never lost a Malaysia Cup final with Wong in the side, winning in 1968, 1969, 1971, 1975 and 1976.

Wong passed away in January 2014 due to heart failure. At his funeral, a list of attendees that read like a who’s who of Malaysian football – including the likes of legendary Soh Chin Aun and Santokh Singh – paid glowing tributes.