Malaysia’s Best European Imports: Part II
WILLIAM 'BILLY' BONE
Bone may not be too familiar with football fans in West Malaysia, where most of the teams are located, but he is part of a Crocs squad that immortalised its name in Sarawak’s football history books.
Signed by Alan Vest in 1997, Bone helped the East Malaysians to the one and only top flight title in their history that year, a success that is still talked about today – in the same breath as their 1992 FA Cup-winning side.
The Englishman won the Charity Shield with Sarawak the following year before returning to the S. League, this time signing for Geylang United, who were being managed by Vest.
He lifted the S. League title with Geylang in 2001 before winning it again with Home United in 2003. Bone ended his career at the age of 33 due to injuries and returned to England to earn his coaching badges and set up Sporting Club First Touch 04, a football academy based in Kent.
The former Fulham trainee stayed with the Malaysian giants for another two seasons and was even captain at one point, but Selangor slipped from their perch and even dropped to the second tier after the 1998 season.
A former Welsh international who turned out for Crystal Palace and Reading, Hopkins moved to Australia with his family in 1999 – after getting Selangor back into the top division – and was appointed player-coach of the Gippsland Falcons.
He turned his attention to the women's game in 2008 as he was appointed Brisbane Roar’s women’s coach before becoming an assistant in the men's squad. Hopkins is the current Melbourne Victory women’s team boss, a role he assumed in June 2016.
The number of Europeans who have competed in the Malaysia Super League (MSL) is significantly less compared to other parts of the globe, but that does not mean we had difficulty justifying the inclusion of a player who was only in Malaysia for less than four months.
Guiza, a former Spanish international, signed for Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) on a loan deal for the 2013 season, but sadly his stay ended prematurely in April after a mix-up over the MSL transfer window and his contract with Getafe.
Yet it was clear for all to see that Guiza was a class above, which should have come as no surprise considering he was part of Spain’s 2008 European Championship-winning side.
Also the 2007/08 La Liga top-scorer with Mallorca, Guiza scored six times in the MSL and another two in the FA Cup, given the captain’s armband in his final match at the club against Selangor.
Guiza then joined Paraguayan side Cerro Porteno before returning to Spain to help Cadiz win promotion to the 2016/17 Segunda Division.
He dropped down further divisions after signing a two-year deal with fourth tier club Atletico Sanluqueno in July last year.