Football has existed in Malaysia for over a century, brought over by the British colonials towards the end of 19th century but soon picked up by the local Malays. The game soon thrived, as locals took to the game with passion. Not long after that in 1921, the Malayan Cup was created to suit the nation’s enthusiasm for football which leads to the founding of the Malayan Football Association in 1926. John Doyle once stated in his book ‘The World is a Ball’ that football reflects the identity of a nation. Malaysia truly reflects the triumph of our nation after our independence from the British Empire, as the Malaysian’s football team display a victorious game against the visiting Arsenal in 1975 bringing in a new era and strengthening spirits in the pride of our team. The final score of was 2-0 and both goals were made by the highly gifted Mokthar Dahari. The match made this young player name a household topic and soon he was shot into stardom. Even though his amazing story was cut short with a Muscular dystrophy which ended his life in 1991, he is still often regarded as Malaysia’s greatest symbol of football excellence and a borderline genius of the game.
Mokthar Dahari had become an icon and a national pride. He had left our nation with such a high standards and big success which is why after his departure our nation felt into a great depression and absence of pride and joy of the game. After the golden era of football in Malaysia, we had been disappointedly searching for the excitement and thrills of the style and skill that Mokthar Dahari had impacted us, since we failed to find in local football the nation’s attention was then set focus into the international stage of football. In the last few years, Malaysia was surprised and once again had given hope into our local football. With the recent success in the AFF Suzuki Cup, the nation had woken up from its doldrums and brings back the pride in Malaysian’s football.