Khalid, hardman with a heart
PETALING JAYA: He was a firm character and brooked no nonsense but for his friends and those loyal to him, he would do anything.
That was former national footballer Khalid Ali, a key member of the national team that qualified for the 1980 Olympics. Khalid had also won numerous trophies as a Selangor player.
Khalid was known for his honest take on Malaysian football – some passionate, some brutally honest, but he always meant well.
His peers included the likes of R. Arumugam, Shukor Salleh, Santokh Singh, Bakri Ibni, James Wong and Soh Chin Aun.
But his brother, Datuk Zainal Abidin Hassan, another national stalwart, feels the family has lost a ‘’bastion’’ after Khalid succumbed to a long battle with lung cancer.
Zainal said the family would not only miss a good brother but also an amazing father, one who always cared for his family.
“He was firm and passionate. That is how I remember my brother. He took care of everything when it came to our family. Yes, when I started my career as a footballer, he was there every step of the way,” said Zainal.
The two played together in the Selangor state team and the national team.
“I’ve lost a good brother. To the Malaysian footballing fraternity, we have lost a legend. A player who helped bring us to the Olympics in 1980. He gave his heart and soul to the nation.
“After his career, he always gave his honest take on the game. That’s how I see him as a person.
“When I played in Selangor and the national team together with him, he always guided me by sharing his experience. He was a tough character on the field, one that gave us strength at the back.”
Khalid was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer in March last year. Following that, his health started to decline and he needed to undergo regular treatment.
He died at the Universiti Malaya Medical Centre at around 3pm yesterday. He was 66.
Khalid is the fifth child out of nine siblings.
The former Selangor rightback played for Malaysia from 1977 to 1985, helping the Harimau Malaya qualify for the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow, Russia. However, the country boycotted the Games.
Former teammate Datuk Soh Chin Aun wished his family strength during this testing time.
“We know what cancer can do. He fought hard but he is in a better place now. I pray for the best for his family,” he said.
“We always shared a great rapport even after our footballing career. It’s a huge loss for Malaysian football but my wishes are with his loved ones during this tough time.”
Another former national teammate Datuk James Wong said Khalid was a jovial guy who always livened up the dressing room with his jokes and antics.
“We played together for a while. He is always a jovial guy, always making jokes but on the field, he was a strong character. He was strongly built and contributed a lot to the national team,” he said.
“He played for Selangor while I played for Sabah. We faced each other several times and also played together.
“I believe all those people who played during our time were good footballers, whatever the position they played. They executed things professionally on the pitch. I do not see any flaws.
“Khalid was a nice guy. Even during our veteran playing days, he always used to give us encouragement.”