Ten Singapore legends to look out for at the 2018 Sultan of Selangor’s Cup

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Kenneth Tan

Nostalgia will be in the air for Singapore football fans travelling to Shah Alam for the annual Sultan of Selangor’s (SOS) Cup this weekend, with these legendary star names looking to replicate what they could do in their heydays…

Rezal Hassan (Goalkeeper)

With a huge frame and incredible agility in between the sticks, Rezal was one of the key reasons why an all-local Singapore side beat the odds to win their first-ever Tiger Cup (now AFF Suzuki Cup) in 1998.

He was also a success at club level as he won numerous trophies with SAFFC (now Warriors FC) and Tampines Rovers FC before retiring in the late 2000s. The 43-year-old showed that class is permanent after an outstanding show in the Battle of the Masters event at National Stadium last November – making numerous saves against their Arsenal and Liverpool counterparts, including saving a penalty from Jari Litmanen.

Aide Iskandar (Defender)

A defender who reads the game well and has superb leadership qualities, Aide is well known for captaining Singapore to the 2004 and 2007 AFF titles after his first triumph in the regional tournament as a 23-year-old in the 1998 edition.

With 121 international caps, the 43-year-old was a huge success at club level – winning two S.League (now Singapore Premier League) titles and five Singapore Cups with Home United and Tampines Rovers.

Razali Saad (Defender)

A tough-as-nails central defender with a no-holds-barred playing style, Razali was part of the Singapore squad that played in their only Asian Cup appearance till date in 1984.

The 54-year-old served the country with distinction, with 53 international appearances between 1984 to 1993 – including a two-year reign as captain from 1986 to 1988.

Zulkarnaen Zainal (Defender)

A left-back who possesses an elegant left foot, Zulkarnaen played an integral role in Singapore’s 1998 Tiger Cup success as he netted a stunning free-kick in a 4-1 win over Laos in the group stages.

After winning the 2001 S.League title with Geylang United (now Geylang International), the 45-year-old went on to win three S.League titles and three Singapore Cups before hanging up his boots.

Malek Awab (Midfielder)

Small in stature, big in heart. Malek won the hearts of many Singaporeans in the 80s and 90s with his tireless running on the pitch – closing down on opponents and making penetrative runs into the attacking third.

The 56-year-old is one of the few Centurions in Singapore football, having made 121 appearances between 1980 to 1996. He was the backbone of the famous Lions ‘Dream Team’ that won a Malaysia league and Cup double in 1994.

Nazri Nasir (Midfielder)

A combative tackler in the middle of the park, Nazri wore his heart on his sleeve as he captained Singapore to their first international success in 1998 – scoring a crucial goal in the 2-1 win over Indonesia in the semi-finals of that historic Tiger Cup campaign.

His reign as Lions captain lasted seven years from 1997 to 2003 as he accumulated 104 international appearances. At club level, the 47-year-old was successful as well – with five S.League titles and five Singapore Cups with SAFFC and Tampines Rovers to his name.

Rafi Ali (Midfielder)

Two years younger than Nazri, Rafi’s career path went on a similar trajectory with the former – winning the 1998 Tiger Cup before collecting a number of trophies at club level with the Warriors and Tampines.

The 45-year-old was a classy playmaker in his heydays, with the ability to pick out a pass and produce exquisite shots from range. Without his opening goals in the 2-0 win over Malaysia in the group stages and the 2-1 win over Indonesia in the semi-finals, Singapore might not have won the Tiger Cup 20 years ago.

Samawira Basri (Midfielder)

Famed for his dazzling displays on the wings, the skilful winger is fondly remembered by Singaporeans as the man who scored against Tottenham Hotspur when they played Singapore in an exhibition match at the Old National Stadium back in 1995 – a game which ended 1-1.

Part of the famous Dream Team in 1994, Samawira went on to lift the 1998 Tiger Cup before eventually retiring in 2004.

Fandi Ahmad (Forward)

How can we leave him out? Fandi was the first proper Singapore football superstar, with the skills to match his good looks. Once courted by Ajax Amsterdam for his services, he then signed for fellow Dutch side FC Groningen and famously scored against Italian giants Inter Milan in a 2-0 UEFA Cup victory in 1983.

After years playing abroad, Fandi returned home to a hero’s welcome as he subsequently helped Singapore FA to win the Double in 1994. With 55 goals in 101 international caps – including a reign as captain from 1993 to 1997, he continued to serve the country well as a coach – winning the 2015 Malaysia Cup with the now-defunct LionsXII and is now interim coach of the Lions.

Fans will be hoping to see the 56-year-old light up Shah Alam as he limped off after just a handful of minutes in the SOS Cup’s veterans games at Singapore’s National Stadium last May.

Steven Tan (Forward)

Nicknamed the ‘Super Sub’ for his exploits off the bench for Singapore in the 90s, Tan was one of the most well-loved players in the country – with one of his most notable strikes being an injury-time winner against Pahang FA in the group stages of that victorious 1994 Malaysia Cup campaign after coming on as a sub.

He went on to win two S.League titles and one Singapore Cup with Tampines before hanging up his boots. Now 47, the forward is one of the star performers whenever the SOS Cups’ veteran game comes around – scoring in the 2012 and 2014 editions.