LAST_UPDATETue, 15 May 2018 11am

The Top 10 Foreign Players In Malaysian Football

.INTEREST in the Malaysia Super League has certainly skyrocketed following Johor FA’s shock signing of Spanish international striker Dani Guiza on a year-long loan deal from Primera Liga outfit Getafe last week.


Boasting a sterling resume of Primera Liga and Champions League experience, plus forming part of the Spanish national team which won Euro 2008, the 32-year-old is undoubtedly a player with star qualities and should prove to be a huge asset to the southern state side. 


Guiza carved a name for himself after being crowned Primera Liga top scorer with Mallorca, scoring 27 goals in 37 matches in the 2007-2008 season, and then went on to help Spain conquer Euro 2008. 

He has played 21 times for Spain and scored six goals. Not bad with the kind of strikers Spain has been producing in recent years. Shortly after winning Euro 2008, the 5ft 11 1/2in-tall Guiza signed up with Turkish club Fenerbahce, before returning to Spain to play for Getafe last season.

Guiza is arguably the biggest name to ever grace the Malaysian professional football scene.

However, he certainly isn’t the first big-name foreign player to grace the Malaysian league. Malaysian Digest takes a walk down memory lane and looks at 10 other superstar signings (in no particular order) which had made an impact on the scene and left Malaysian fans breathless with their skills and mastery of the game.

Juan Manuel Arostegui (Argentina)
Juan Manuel Arostegui

Born in Cordoba and started his career playing for Argentine giants Boca Juniors in 1998 to 2000. However, he was unable to make an impact in the club, which boasts luminaries such as Diego Maradona and Juan Roman Riquelme.

He continued playing in Argentina with clubs like El Porvenir and Belgrano de Cordoba.

In 2003, he made the long trip to Malaysia and signed up with ambitious MPPJ FC, helmed by coach Dollah Salleh, for two seasons in 2003. He proved to be a fantastic buy, hammering in 33 goals from 37 matches for MPPJ. This also included that remarkable hattrick he scored in the 3-0 win over Sabah in the Malaysia Cup final at the National Stadium in 2003.

That proved to be the first and only time that a club side, instead of a state side, had won the prestigious silverware.

And now it is learnt that Arostegui, 31, may well make a return to Malaysia to don Pahang colours next season.

Laszlo Repasi (Hungary)

Laszlo Repasi

The striker, who has one cap for Hungary, was brought to Ipoh by Perak head coach Karl Weigang in 1997, when the season was halfway through.

It didn’t take him long to establish a ‘cult' following in Ipoh. He eventually finished as top scorer in 1997 with 19 goals to win the Golden Boot award. One shudders to think how many goals he would have plundered if he had joined Perak at the start of the season.

The Magyar had a lot of fans including youngsters from Tanjung Malim who would travel by train on match day to Ipoh. These youngsters would then return home by the 1am train.

When asked, these youngsters said: "We took the trouble to come to Perak Stadium all the way from Tanjung Malim simply because we want to see Repasi scoring goals."

Repasi played a vital role yet again in 1998 as Perak made the Malaysia Cup final and beat Terenganu on penalties at Bukit Jalil National Stadium.

The last time Perak won the Cup was in 1970. However, Repasi did not play in the final and he left for Finland soon after.

Merzagua Abderrazak (Morocco)

Merzagua Abderrazak (left)

A former Morocco international striker who played a major role in steering unfancied Penang to the League titles in 1998 and 2001. Penang also ended up as Malaysia Cup runners-up in 1999 and 2000.

Used to play alongside with Morocco star attacking midfielder Mustapha Hadji.

Latest reports suggested Abderrazak, or nicknamed "The Great Merz", may make a return to Penang as coach next season.



Emile M'bouh M'bouh (Cameroon)

Emile M'bouh M'bouh

In 1995, Perlis suddenly became the centre of attention for local football fans when the tiny state pulled off a coup, signing Cameroon international midfielder Emile M’bouh M’bouh for two years.

Football fans would remember the midfielder as being in the Cameroon side which stunned the Maradona-led Argentina in the 1990 World Cup.

M’bouh M’bouh also played in the 1994 World Cup, and had represented club side such as France’s Le Havre and Portugal’s Victoria de Guimares.

His signing generated massive interest and excitement in sleepy Kangar, as fans flocked to the stadium to watch him in action and gush over his skills.

His presence rejuvenated interest in the game in Perlis, previously the whipping boys of local football.


Stephen Keshi (Nigeria)

Stephen Keshi (right)If the signing of M’bouh M’bouh was considered a fluke, local football fans’  jaws certainly dropped when two years later, Perlis repeated the unthinkable, this time by signing dynamic Nigerian defender Stephen Keshi.

Keshi, who captained Nigeria in the 1994 World Cup, was also part of the squad which won the African Nations Cup that same year.

Keshi, who played for Belgian club Andelecht among others, has 64 caps for Nigeria and scored nine goals. He is now is head coach of the Nigerian football team.


Karel Stromsik (Czechoslovakia)

Karel StromsikIn the 1980s and early 1990s, Selangor was a powerhouse in the Malaysian semi-pro league. Their status was further strengthened with the signing of former Czech international Karel Stromsik in 1989.

The goalkeeper, who had represented Czechoslovakia in the 1982 World Cup, proved to be an astute signing, using his experience to marshall the Selangor defence and keep opposing strikers at bay.

Stromsik wasted no time in establishing himself as a fan favourite, his towering presence and aerial ability helping Selangor clinch the league titles for two years in a row in 1989 and 1990. He eventually left Malaysia in 1993.

However, the lure of Malaysia, which he had described as his “second home”, proved too much and he returned in 2003, this time as director of coaching for Public Bank, which emerged as the 2003/2004 Malaysia League second division champs.

He is now a technical advisor for Felda United, which plays in the Super League.


Tony Cottee (England)

Tony Cottee

Selangor’s habit of signing big-name players continued with the acquisition of England international Tony Cottee for two seasons in 1996.

Cottee, a tough-as-nails striker who had previously starred for Everton and West Ham, was then the biggest star signing in local football. Boasting a record fee of £750,000, he didn’t take long to adapt to Malaysian football and made an instant impact, scoring 14 goals from 24 matches.

His feats also helped Selangor clinch the coveted Malaysia Cup in 1996 and 1997.

However, Cottee’s less-than-complimentary remarks on the state of Malaysian football, such as “mushrooms on the pitch” and having to clean his own boots, all widely publicized by the UK tabloids, was not received kindly on the local front and he left Malaysia soon after.

Cottee, to his credit, had maintained that the quotes were taken out of context.

He has since returned to Malaysia as a pundit on Astro SuperSport.

Scott Ollenrenshaw (Australia)

Scott Ollenrenshaw
The former Australian international, who came to Sabah from English side Walsall in 1994, was an unknown commodity at first but that changed rapidly the moment the season began.

From 1994 to 1998, Ollerenshaw terrorized opposing defenders with his speed and goal-poacher instincts, boasting a record of more than one goal a game for four straight seasons.

The ‘Ginger Maradona’, as he was later known, helped himself to an astonishing 180 goals from 110 matches up to his retirement at 31 due to injury, which probably came as a relief to the league’s defenders.

His playing career in Malaysia saw him win the Golden Boot twice.

However, his retirement did not end his love affair with Malaysia, as he married former Malaysian karate champion Michelle Koh and continued to reside in Sabah.

He now runs a sports tourism business in Kota Kinabalu and is a football pundit on the FourFourTwo TV show.

Fandi Ahmad (Singapore)
Fandi Ahmad

Singapore's very own legendary striker played for Kuala Lumpur from 1986 to 1989. A classy player who assisted KL to three successive Malaysia Cup glories, he also helped KL clinch the league title in 1988.

Before coming to KL, Fandi played for Dutch First Division side club FC Groningen from 1983 to 1985 where he scored 11 goals from 36 matches. He has 101 caps with Singapore and scored 52 goals.

He signed up with Pahang in 1991, this time as a midfelder due to his advanced age, and helped the club to the coveted ‘double’, winning the Malaysia Cup and league title the following year.

Fandi is still heavily involved in Malaysian football, and was recently appointed Johor manager.

David Rocastle (England)

David Rocastle
The former England midfielder, affectionately known as ‘Rocky’ , made his debut for Sabah in 1999.

Known for his powerhouse style, the footballing journeyman, who had played for Arsenal, Leeds, Manchester City and Chelsea, was widely expected to be the fulcrum of the East Malaysian side.

However, injuries limited him to only 13 games, in which he still managed to score eight goals. He finally hung up his boots in December that year.

Sadly, he passed away on March 31, 2001 after a battle with cancer, at only 33-years-old.

- mD


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