KUALA LUMPUR – Four Malaysian legends including former national squad defender Datuk Soh Chin Aun, who has been confirmed as the player with the most international football appearances, have been declared the newest members of the FIFA Century Club.
In a statement, the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) announced this after receiving confirmation from FIFA through the latest update on the FIFA Century Club membership which is reserved for players with at least 100 international caps.
There are now seven Malaysians in the updated list. The three other Malaysian legends who made it to the updated list are Zainal Abidin Hassan, the late Datuk M. Chandran and Datuk Santokh Singh.The prestigious list is based on FIFA’s official statistics compiled in collaboration with the statistics-collecting body involving football associations, the RSSSF.
Chin Aun was confirmed to have made 195 appearances at the international level even though the number of caps recorded by FAM was 252, as FIFA only recognised category A matches involving the 71-year-old from Melaka.
“Thank you FIFA and FAM for this recognition. I am quite overwhelmed by the confirmation of this record … becoming the player with the most number of appearances in the world is the highest honour for me,” Chin Aun was quoted as saying in the statement.
Chin Aun’s total caps surpassed the record of Ahmed Hassan of Egypt who made 184 appearances, Bader Al Mutawa of Kuwait (181) and Ahmed Mubarak of Oman (180).
The only player still active in the group of 10 players with the most appearances is Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo, who had collected 173 appearances as of March.
Previously, three legends, namely Datuk Abdul Shukor Salleh who had 163 international appearances, the late Datuk Mokhtar Dahari (138) and the late Datuk R. Arumugam (131) were given recognition as members of the FIFA Century Club.
Meanwhile, Zainal Abidin, 58, who wore the national jersey for 17 years, described the recognition as an honour.
“It is not easy to be declared a member of the list of players who collected 100 caps at the international level. I consider it as a reward for my sacrifice and service during almost two decades of representing the country,” he said.
Meanwhile, although Abdul Shukor’s appearances in the FAM record totalled 215, he considers being a member of the FIFA Century Club with an official total of 163 appearances as the highest recognition.
“It’s not just statistics. It is proof that I am one in the group of players who contributed to the country,” said Abdul Shuhor, who will be celebrating his 73rd birthday in December.
The following are the seven Malaysians recognised in the FIFA Century Club:
- Datuk Soh Chin Aun – 195 appearances
- Datuk Abdul Shukor Salleh – 163 appearances
- The late Datuk Mokhtar Dahari – 138 appearances
- The late Datuk R. Arumugam – 131 appearances
- Zainal Abidin Hassan – 116 appearances
- The late Datuk M. Chandran – 115 appearances
- Datuk Santokh Singh – 100 appearances