Class of 1977 still on song

Class of 1977 still on song
Quah Kim Song (right), 62, showed he had not lost his silky kills at a charity match at the Padang yesterday when the football icon also launched his book.

Receiving a pass with a defender breathing down his neck, V. Khanisen controlled the football with an assured first touch, spun deftly and left his marker in his wake.

Except this was not a highlight from Singapore's victorious 1977 Malaysia Cup campaign, which the midfielder played in.

The action took place yesterday at the Padang, at a charity match which also served as the launch for team-mate Quah Kim Song's book.

The game may have been played at a slower pace but, like Khanisen's pirouette, the skills of the Class of 77 were still intact as Singapore's football heroes from yesteryear served up a retro spectacle.

They beat a sponsors selection side 2-0, with goals from striker Leong Kok Fann and Soh Chin Aun, the former Malaysia defender who starred in the same era.

In their heyday, 55,000-strong crowds at the National Stadium were a regular sight as the players thrilled with their signature skills. And that is the key difference between the Lions then and now.

Asked about the shortage of flair players today, Quah, 62, famed for his speed and diving headers, said: "Every time we stepped on the pitch, we tried to entertain the fans. We aimed to play well, and do something extra that was (better than) normal. I don't really see all that these days.

"Of course, you have to entertain and win. If you lose, then no one will come and watch.

"But it takes a lot of hard work and passion."

Khanisen, a Singapore Airlines pilot who played despite landing in the morning from Germany, said getting the basics right was key for him.

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