SHAH ALAM - In his heyday, footballer Datuk Mokhtar Dahari was a legend for his skill, ability to score superb goals and single-minded will to win.
Even 22 years after his passing, many Malaysians still see him as the personification of all that is good and great in the sport.
Mokhtar was one of the best players in Asia and the best Malaysian footballer in the 1970s.
When he played for Malaysia, our team defeated Asian giants South Korea and Japan.
Now his greatness will be celebrated on the stage with SuperMokh The Musical, a work by Tall Order Productions and Jugra Publication.
The musical, which will be staged at Istana Budaya in Kuala Lumpur from Nov 6 to 18, will tell the life of Mokhtar the football hero, the husband, the father and the friend, as well as unveil the trials he faced on and off the pitch.
SuperMokh The Musical will be co-directed by actor, producer and former model Hans Issac and writer, actor and comedian Harith Iskander. Michael Veerapan is musical director.
The production is under the patronage of the Sultan of Selangor, Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah, who is Mokhtar's biggest fan.
Mokhtar, nicknamed SuperMokh, was only 19 when he played his first match for the national football team in 1972.
During his illustrious 18-year career, he was the best striker in Malaysia and scored more than 170 goals.
In the late 1980s, he was diagnosed with motor neurone disease, a rare condition where parts of the nervous system become damaged, causing progressive body weakness as the muscles waste away.
After three years of battling the disease, he died from it in July 1991. He was just 37 years old.
Hans, whose stage directorial credits include the sold-out hits Cuci The Musical and Lat The Musical, hopes the story of Mokhtar will inform and inspire the younger generation.
"Memories and national pride will also be rekindled, along with the names of (other Malaysian football greats) Datuk Soh Chin Aun, Datuk Santokh Singh and the late Datuk R. Arumugam," he said.
He was speaking after the launch of the musical at the Setia City Convention Centre on Thursday.
The role of Mokhtar will be played by rock singer and actor Awie, who has won two BOH Cameronian best actor awards for Cuci The Musical and Lat The Musical.
Other members of the cast are Maya Karin, Rashidi Ishak, Douglas Lim, Dina Nadzir, Phoon Chi Ho, Oliver Johanan and Clarence Kuna.
Prominent property developer SP Setia as well as conglomerates Berjaya Group and Maju Holdings are the main sponsors of the musical.