The highest profile Malaysian abroad has always been Titus James Palani who is now 22, playing as a winger in France for FC Villenoy (a 3rd division team). Titus apparently is vying for selection in Ligue 1 fuelled by his youth experience with Le Havre.
These are but two Malaysians pursuing their dreams of football superstardom. Akmal Rizal tried his luck in RC Strasbourg before retreating to the backwaters of Malaysian football. Syed Adney also failed to impress at Middlesborough and now is also back in the M-League. An 18-yr old Penangite had a one-month trial at Belgian club, Germinal without any success. A couple of promising players had stints in Fulham and Birmingham. Yet, none of them has achieved the desired success. Success in football requires not only skill but also a dogged personal determination. Together with the right conducive environment and training facility, one can be successful. So looks like Malaysian footballers are not a very determined lot, eh? I shudder at the thought.
But when all hope seemed lost, I stumbled upon Brendan Gan, a 20-yr old Australia-born Malaysian, who has found success playing for Sydney FC in the A-League. He has been described by the Australian sporting press as a midfield prodigy and an extremely bright prospect. Brendan himself has lofty ambitions reportedly. Hopefully, he will want to play for Malaysia rather than Australia.
I await the day when the Malaysian national team, consisting of overseas-based players (like Brendan, Titus and Tam), lifts the Asian Nations Cup and regain the glamour of the 70's.
Now THAT would be something to look forward to.