Singapore vs Penang Malaysia Cup Final (1977)

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The Singapore team doing a victory lap with the Malaysia Cup trophy. Photo from The Straits Times.

On 28 May 1977, Singapore won the Malaysia Cup after defeating Penang in the final. This was the first time in 12 years that Singapore emerged champions. Held at Merdeka Stadium in Kuala Lumpur, the match attracted reportedly over 40,000 spectators.[1] It was estimated that over 900,000 adults (aged 15 and above) tuned in to the live telecast. Out of those who had watched the programme, 40% (estimated 370,000) of viewers re-watched the second telecast the following day.[2]

Match summary & team details[edit | edit source]

Quah Kim Song scored the winning goal for Singapore in 1977 Malaysia Cup Final.

The referee for the match was Koh Guan Kiat from Selangor, Malaysia.[3]

Singapore Penang
Final Score 3 2
Goal Scorers Quah Kim Song (4’, 105’)

Nasir Jalil (71’)

Isa Bakar (29’)

Ali Bakar (54’)

Team details[4][5][6][7][8][edit | edit source]

A cartoon illustration showing the Singapore team roster and positions. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
Singapore Line-up Penang Line-up
Coach Choo Seng Quee Lim Boon Keng
Manager Chan King Fook Tan Cheng Hoe
Players Edmund Wee (GK)

Hasli Ibrahim

Syed Mutalib

Samad Alapitchay

Robert Sim

Zainal Abideen

V. Khanisen

Mohamed Noh

Quah Kim Song

Dollah Kassim

S. Rajagopal

Rahim Mohamed (GK)

Anuar Osman

Ooi Hock Kheng

Lim Cheng Hock

N. Baskaran

Shukor Salleh

Radzi Ahmad

Fadzli Ismail

Isa Bakar

Ali Bakar

Ravei Varma

Substitution(s) Lim Teng Sai

Nasir Jalil

Nik Husin

N. Gopalakrishnan

Match breakdown[9][10][11][12][edit | edit source]

First goal (4’) by Quah Kim Song - 1 : 0[edit | edit source]

Quah Kim Song pictured scoring the first goal of the match against Penang. Photo credit to Mak Kian Seng (ST PHOTO).

4 minutes into game time, Quah “Mercurial Speed Demon” Kim Song scored the opening goal for Singapore with a diving header. Quah Kim Song had received a cross from S. Rajagopal who manoeuvred past Penang defender, Annuar Osman, down the left flank. Penang forced 7 corners before equalising.

Penang equaliser (29’) by Isa Bakar - 1 : 1[edit | edit source]

Penang striker Isa Bakar equalised for Penang at the 20th minute. The striker capitalised on Samad Alapitchay’s careless back-pass to Singapore’s goalkeeper, Edmund Wee. Before the equaliser, Edmund Wee had deflected a 50-metre driver by Penang’s Ooi Hock Kheng over the crossbar. Samad was substituted out for Lim Teng Sai and his Captain armband was passed to Dollah Kassim.

Penang goal (54’) by Ali Bakar - 2 : 1[edit | edit source]

Ali Bakar’s goal at the 54th minute placed Penang in the lead. Isa Bakar took a Penang corner kick which found its way to Ali Bakar who placed it in the back of the net.

Singapore equaliser (71’) by Nasir Jalil - 2 : 2[edit | edit source]

Nasir Jalil entered the pitch as a substitute for S. Rajagopal at the 53rd minute. He converted a corner kick into a goal-scoring grounder after slipping past two defenders.

Extra time winner (105’) by Quah Kim Song - 3 : 2[edit | edit source]

Quah Kim Song won the match for Singapore with a set-piece conversion. Dollah ‘Gelek King’ Kassim’s free-kick found Quah Kim Song who brought in the winning goal with another diving header. The Singapore team defended their lead until the final whistle.

Post-match celebrations[edit | edit source]

Dollah Kassim (left) pictured hugging his then-girlfriend while holding onto the Malaysia Cup with S.S. Dhillion. Photo from source.
Dollah Kassim and Samad Alapitchay pictured at the airport, surrounded by Singapore fans.

The Singapore team was overwhelmed by their fans following the win. Dollah Kassim, the player who assisted in Singapore’s winning goal, described the experience in a 2003 interview:[13]

Zarina Yusof (Interviewer): “How was the atmosphere if you can describe it to us?”

Dollah Kassim: “Wah, electrifying is the first word I can say. I don’t know what word to use, after the finals when we won the game you look at the celebration, the jubilation from the Singapore crowd was fantastic. We could hardly move into our hotel in KL, it was so crowded.”

Zarina Yusof (Interviewer): “ You mean, they knew where you were staying?”

Dollah Kassim: “Yes, we were in Holiday Inn. It was so jubilant, we could hardly move into the hotel I tell you. The whole night long we had to entertain, well, we were proud to be there, I am sure the Singaporeans were all proud that we won after 15 years. The boys were so happy that we stayed all night long to entertain them, no regrets.”

Zarina Yusof (Interviewer): “You entertained your fans?”

Dollah Kassim: “Yes.”

Zarina Yusof (Interviewer): “Really?”

Dollah Kassim: “Yes, I think, the fans deserved that. Wah, marvellous.”

Zarina Yusof (Interviewer): ”How did you entertain them? This is interesting.”

Dollah Kassim: “They came to our hotel, we talked, we sat down, they wanted to know, took photographs, signing autographs; that’s wonderful, that was really wonderful. That was in KL itself. Can you imagine when we were at the airport? Wah, marvellous. Well, well, well; well received all the way from the airport to Jalan Besar Stadium. Airport; the airport workers itself already, a throng of them, I was carried, I was lifted. Even in the papers it came out the photos. Then from Paya Lebar Airport straight to Jalan Besar Stadium we were paraded; wah, unofficial motorcades.”

Ticketing prices & gross earnings[edit | edit source]

An image of the jam at the causeway caused by the spectators driving out from Singapore to catch the 1977 Malaysia Cup final. Photo from National Archives Singapore.

Ticketing[edit | edit source]

The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) reserved 7,200 tickets for Singapore fans. The tickets were priced according to tiers. The total estimated attendance of Singaporeans amounted to over 7,000 spectators.[14]

Seating type Price No. of seats available
Grandstand S$10 200
Covered S$5 2,000
Gallery S$3 5,000

Gross earnings[edit | edit source]

The total gross ticket sales for the Cup Finals at the Merdeka Stadium amounted to S$133,911.[15] The revenue was distributed among the following entities:

Entity Amount (S$) % (of ticket revenue)
Merdeka Stadium 20,086.65 15%
Common Pool 20,086.65 15%
Players Welfare 5,695.55 5%
Referees Funds 5,695.55 5%
Team Singapore 40,173.30 30%*
Team Penang 40,173.30 30%*

*In previous years, the visiting team received 55% of the remaining collective sum while the home team received 45%. As the 1977 final was played on neutral ground, the pool was equally shared between both teams.[16]

Singapore players' bonuses[edit | edit source]

N. Ganesan (FAS Chairman) (left) and Coach Choo Seng Quee (right) pictured holding the 1977 Malaysia Cup.

Tiered bonuses[edit | edit source]

Under the chairmanship of Mr N. Ganesan, the FAS council distributed tiered bonuses to the players following the 1977 Malaysia Cup. The bonuses were categorized as such (with Tier 1 being the highest remuneration):[17][18]

Tier Criteria
Tier 1 Squad members who contributed to winning the Malaysia Cup
Tier 2 Squad members who contributed to the placing in Finals
Tier 3 Squad members who contributed in the placing in the Semi-finals
Tier 4 Squad members who played in 10 preliminary matches

Robert Sim, Nasir Jalil, Dollah Kassim and Quah Kim Song received four-figure bonuses.[19] Ganesan revealed that the 11 players and 2 substitutes who had played in the final received extra bonuses over the squad members who did not.[20]

Discontent[edit | edit source]

The difference in bonuses caused discord in the team.[21][22] When the players were called in for the first training back from the cup final, only a quarter had turned up.[23] One of the players, Arshad Khamis, who had made four appearances in the cup matches stated the following:

"I did not receive a single cent from the FAS."[24]

This claim was later refuted by S.C. Vadivale, Executive Secretary of the FAS. He disclosed to The Straits Times that Arshad had received a bonus of S$210 on 10 May 1977.[25]

1977 Malaysia Cup Road Map[edit | edit source]

Training regime under Coach Choo Seng Quee[edit | edit source]

Quah Kim Song (left) and Choo Seng Quee (right) pictured in an embrace. Photo from source.

The Singapore team had thoroughly prepared for the final under the no-nonsense and charismatic Choo Seng Quee. Before the 1977 Malaysia Cup, the team had reached the finals in the ‘75 and ‘76 Malaysia Cup.[26]


A week before the ‘77 Malaysia Cup Final, the team had undergone strict regimental training. Variables like food, rest and training time were conscientiously controlled and followed dutifully. The afternoon before the final, the team was not allowed to take naps to prevent lethargy. Coach Choo also banned cold or fizzy drinks and haircuts before matches.[27]

Semi-finals[edit | edit source]

The four semi-finalists were Penang (North Zone Winner), Trengganu (South Zone Runner Up), Singapore (South Zone Winner) and Selangor (North Zone Runner Up).[28]

Penang vs. Trengganu[edit | edit source]

Leg Penang Trengganu Location
1st (14 May 1977) 5 2 Kuala Trengganu Stadium
2nd (23 May 1977) 3 1 City Stadium

Penang advanced to the final after beating Trengganu with the aggregate score of 8 (Penang) - 3 (Trengganu).[29]

Singapore vs. Selangor[edit | edit source]

The crowd pictured at the National Stadium when ticket sales opened for the Singapore vs. Selangor semi-final. Photo from The Straits Times.

On 13 May 1977, in a bid to obtain tickets for the Singapore vs. Selangor semi-final, 44 Singaporeans were injured as a result of a stampede at the National Stadium. 500 policemen and 15 dogs were deployed as crowd control. The event led to the death of Mr Lim Kim Pheng, a 33-year-old father of three who had died of a heart attack.[30][31]

Leg Singapore Selangor Location
1st (15 May 1977) 2 1 National Stadium
2nd (23 May 1977) 2 1 Merdeka Stadium

Singapore advanced to the final after beating Selangor with the aggregate score of 4 (Singapore) - 2 (Singapore).[32]

Group stages[edit | edit source]

South Zone[edit | edit source]

Quah Kim Song pictured scoring the third goal for Singapore against Trengganu in the South Zone group stage match. Photo credit to Yow Yun Woh (ST PHOTO).
Team Win Draw Loss GF GA GD Points
Singapore (Winner) 8 2 0 35 3 29 18
Trengganu (Runner Up) 7 2 1 21 11 10 16
Johor 4 3 3 13 13 0 10
Malacca 3 3 4 7 14 -7 9
Negri Sembilan 0 5 5 2 15 -13 5
Armed Forces 1 3 6 7 26 -19 5

North Zone[edit | edit source]

Team Win Draw Loss GF GA GD Points
Penang (Winner) 6 3 1 24 11 13 15
Selangor (Runner Up) 6 1 3 23 9 14 13
Kelantan 5 1 4 18 15 3 11
Perak 3 2 5 17 24 -7 8
Perlis 2 3 5 12 18 -6 7
Kedah 1 4 5 11 28 -17 6

References / Citations[edit | edit source]

  1. Seneviratne, Percy. “The Malaysia Cup is Ours After 12 Long Years”. The Straits Times. May 29, 1977. Accessed on 2 December 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  2. 900,00 saw the final ‘live’ on TV”. New Nation. June 13, 1977. Accessed on 28 November 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  3. Seneviratne, Percy. “The Malaysia Cup is Ours After 12 Long Years”. The Straits Times. May 29, 1977. Accessed on 2 December 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  4. Yes, we have the edge, but we need God's grace too—Gani”. New Nation. May 28, 1977. Accessed on 27 November 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  5. Tan, Philip. “Zainal holds the key…”. New Nation. May 13, 1977. Accessed on 28 November 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  6. Koay, Kok Chiang. “Cheng Hoe: My boys are fit and happy”. The Straits Times. May 25, 1977. Accessed on 28 November 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  7. Low, Jeffrey. “It’s as good as ours!”. New Nation. May 28, 1977. Accessed on 27 November 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  8.  Robert, Godfrey. The Malaysia Cup. Singapore: 2A Publications, 1991.
  9. Seneviratne, Percy. “The Malaysia Cup is Ours After 12 Long Years”. The Straits Times. May 29, 1977. Accessed on 2 December 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  10. Low, Jeffrey. “The Young Lions bring it home”. New Nation. May 29, 1977. Accessed on 2 December 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  11. S., Murali. 50 Greatest Moments in Singapore Football. Singapore: Straits Times Press, 2012.
  12. Song, Quah Kim, and Jacintha Stephens. The Quah Kim Song Story: Pass Kim Song the %#@* Ball!! Singapore: Straits Times Press, 2015.
  13. Zarina bte Yusof. “Dollah Kassim Sports Personalities of Singapore (Reel 6)”. National Archives of Singapore. September 24, 2003. Accessed on 26 November 2019. Retrieved from Archives Online
  14. Live telecast: YES”. New Nation. May 27, 1977. Accessed on 28 November 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  15. Cup finalists will each get $40,000”. The Straits Times. June 4, 1977. Accessed on 27 November 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  16. Cup finalists will each get $40,000”. The Straits Times. June 4, 1977. Accessed on 27 November 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  17. Four tiers in bonus system”. The Straits Times. June 16, 1977. Accessed on 3 December 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  18. “Let’s be fair to all the boys, FAS!”. New Nation. June 19, 1977. Accessed on 3 December 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  19. Low, Jeffrey. “What a big load of rubbish!”. New Nation. June 14, 1977. Accessed on 3 December 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  20. Four tiers in bonus system”. The Straits Times. June 16, 1977. Accessed on 3 December 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  21. Low, Jeffrey. “What a big load of rubbish!”. New Nation. June 14, 1977. Accessed on 3 December 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  22. Heng, Eric. “An ‘eye-opener for the FAS”. New Nation. June 22, 1977. Accessed on 3 December 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  23. Dorai, Joe and Yeo, Wilfred. “Boycott by the players”. The Straits Times. June 25, 1977. Accessed on 3 December 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  24. Tan, Philip. “Arshad: I didn't get a cent”. New Nation. June 17, 1977. Accessed on 3 December 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  25. Sportsletter”. The Straits Times. June 25, 1977. Accessed on 3 December 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  26. Zarina bte Yusof. “Dollah Kassim Sports Personalities of Singapore (Reel 6)”. National Archives of Singapore. September 24, 2003. Accessed on 26 November 2019. Retrieved from Archives Online.
  27. Cheong, Suk-Wai. The Sound of Memories: Recordings from the Oral History Centre, Singapore. Singapore: National Archives of Singapore, 2019.
  28. Robert, Godfrey. The Malaysia Cup. Singapore: 2A Publications, 1991.
  29. Robert, Godfrey. The Malaysia Cup. Singapore: 2A Publications, 1991.
  30. Victim of soccer madness”. New Nation. May 14, 1977. Accessed on 28 November 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  31. MONTH-BY-MONTH ROUND-UP OF MAJOR EVENTS”. New Nation. December 31, 1977. Accessed on 28 November 2019. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  32. Robert, Godfrey. The Malaysia Cup. Singapore: 2A Publications, 1991.