Tributes pour in for late Shebby
Published on: Friday, January 14, 2022
By: Agencies
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Kuala Lumpur: Condolences have poured in for the family of former national footballer Serbegeth Singh (pic) following his sudden death on Wednesday evening (Jan 12). He was 61.

Popularly known as Shebby Singh, the football personality and pundit died while cycling in Sunway at Iskandar Puteri. Authorities have not confirmed the cause of death but Malaysian media said he is believed to have suffered a heart attack.

Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah conveyed his condolences to Singh’s family.

Raja Permaisuri Agong Tunku Hajah Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah also sent a similar message over the passing of the former national player.

In a post on the Istana Negara Facebook page, Their Majesties said they were saddened by the death of  Singh, and hoped that his family would remain patient and strong in facing this test.

“Their Majesties greatly appreciate his services and sacrifices to the country and his passing is a big loss to Malaysian football,” the statement said adding that Singh was an outstanding defender in the national team.

Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu called his death a great shock.

“We lost a sporting legend who gave a lot to this nation. This is a great shock and a great loss to all of us,” he said on Twitter.

Television host John Dykes, who used to present shows with Singh on ESPN, Star Sports and Fox Sports, said it was devastating to hear the news. “Utterly devastated to hear that my friend and colleague Shebby Singh is no longer with us,” he said in a post on Facebook.

“The time will come for us to talk about his passion and authenticity but for now all that matters is that we think of and respect the feelings of his loved ones. Rest In Peace Shebs.”

Singh, who was from Kluang, Johor, was born on Aug 20, 1960. His sporting talents were discovered by the late Abdul Shatar Khan, who has a reputation for being a youth coach.

Former Kuala Lumpur coach, the late S Subramaniam, managed to convince Singh to move to the capital in 1983 and join the City Boys. He first wore the national colours in the President’s Cup in South Korea in 1982, then went on to collect 61 caps, with his final outing as a Malaysian player coming against England at the Merdeka Stadium in 1991.

During his time with the Harimau Malaya from 1982 to 1991, Singh appeared at three Asian Games – 1982 (Delhi), 1986 (Seoul) and 1990 (Beijing) – and was part of the sides that won the 1989 SEA Games gold medal and the 1985 SEA Games bronze.

In domestic football, Singh was known as a solid defender throughout his time with Johor, Kuala Lumpur, Pahang and Negeri Sembilan, before he went on to carve a name for himself as a television personality, becoming a football pundit, including on Astro SuperSport, Fox Sports and ESPN Asia.

As a centreback with Kuala Lumpur, he won league titles in 1986 and 1988; the Malaysia Cup in 1987, 1988 and 1989; and the FA Cup in 1993 and 1994.

Apart from being the global adviser of English side Blackburn Rovers from 2012 to 2013, Singh was also the adviser for reality TV football team MyTeam and Malacca Telekom FC, as well as the technical adviser for Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT)

“Blackburn Rovers are saddened to learn of the passing of former club advisor Shebby Singh,” the club said in a Facebook post. “Our thoughts are with Shebby’s family and friends at this sad time.”

JDT also expressed their condolences to Singh’s family.

“Johor Darul Ta’zim FC are shocked to learn of the passing of former JDT Technical Advisor and Johor FA & Malaysia player Serbegeth Singh,” the club wrote on their Johor Southern Tigers Twitter account.

“The JDT Family would like to express our deepest condolences to the family of Serbegeth. Rest in peace, Shebby.”

Former national coach B Sathianathan was also saddened by the passing of Singh, who he described as a good friend, adding that it was a big loss for national football. “We last spoke about a month ago when we discussed the Harimau Malaya’s failure in the AFF Cup 2020 in Singapore in December,” he said. “He had contributed a lot, especially opinions and criticisms that sometimes did not make sense, but they were meant for the good of our football.”

Shebby was also fondly remembered by several politicians, including former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, Muar MP Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman, MIC president Tan Sri SA Vigneswaran and Padang Terap MP Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid.

Vigneswaran called him a “multi-talented footballer, coach and pundit”. “His passing is a great loss to the football fraternity.”

Mahdzir said the country lost another footballing legend, one who knew how to control the game, while Najib said he used to enjoy watching Shebby on television and liked what he had to say on the game.

Syed Saddiq said Malaysia lost one if its greatest treasures who had devoted his entire life to the local football industry. “You will be missed,” the former Youth And Sport Minister tweeted.

Singh leaves behind his wife and two children.

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