PETALING JAYA: Former national football skipper M Chandran died this morning, aged 77.
The legendary Malaysian and Selangor captain, who led the country on many occasions, died at his home in Ampang Jaya at 7.30am.
Among the first to pay tribute to Chandran were his former teammates, led by Soh Chin Aun, president of the Ex-State and Ex-National Footballers Association of Malaysia.
"We are saddened by the passing of our past president and national football legend, Datuk M. Chandran," Soh said in a statement.
"He had excellent leadership qualities and was respected by his teammates and the football fraternity."
Soh said Chandran was a great role model as a player and an administrator, who led by example, and a strict disciplinarian.
N Thanabalan, deputy president of the association and a football legend himself, said Chandran’s death is a great loss to him personally "as he was more of a close friend than a teammate to me".
"We played together in the national team for seven years. He was a great defender. Our friendship extended beyond the football field as we were close family friends, too. It is an irreplaceable loss to me and the nation, "he said.
Another footballing great, Santokh Singh, said Chanran was always there to provide moral support when the odds were against the team.
"He held the team together and led them to the highest achievement the nation had made so far – qualifying and playing in the 1972 Munich Olympics. He will be greatly missed, ”Santokh, who is also a vice-president of the association, said.
Family and friends may pay their last respects at 7, Jalan 4 Ampang Jaya from 12.30pm, after which the cremation will be carried out at the Sentul cremation ground near Athi Eeswaran Temple at about 5pm.