BUTTERWORTH: National football legend Datuk Mohamad Bakar (pix), 75, died at the Temaju Medical and Dental Institute, Universiti Sains Malaysia near Kepala Batas here, at about 10.20 am today.
The Football Association of Penang (FAP) confirmed the news on its official Facebook page, saying that the former Penang player died due to bone marrow failure.
FAP president Dr Amar Pritpal Abdullah when contacted by Bernama expressed his condolences to the family of the deceased and described the latter’s passing as a great loss to the local footballing scene.
“His demise is a big loss to the football community, as his services and contribution to the development of football in Penang and the country had been so great, besides the fact he was also an advisor to the Former Penang Football players association,“ he said.
Meanwhile, several of Mohamad’s former teammates and veterans including Khalil Hashim, N. Baskaran, as well as Penang team head coach Manzoor Azwira Abdul Wahid were seen visiting his residence in Taman Telok Molek near Telok Ayer Tawar here to pay their last respects.
Khalil Hashim, 73, said Mohamad was always committed to making the country proud through his footballing prowess.
“He was serious and feared by many on the field. He was also very fast, and to me, had quite an achievement in football through his hard work and determination,” said the former Penang right-winger.
Baskaran, meanwhile, described Mohamad as an irreplaceable asset to football.
“No one can replace this gem of a person in football. It is a great loss,“ said the former midfielder who played for Penang in the 70’s.
Mohamad will be buried after Asar prayers at the Bagan Ajam Mosque Muslim cemetery, here.
Mohamad began his career playing for Penang in the 1960’s and joined the national squad that qualified for the Olympic Games in Munich, Germany in 1972.
He was also the assistant coach of the team which qualified for the 1980 Moscow Olympics, before being appointed head coach of the Harimau Malaya in 1985. — Bernama