Dollah collapses in mid-game
(The Straits Times, 6 October 2009)
By Terrence Voon
FORMER Singapore international Dollah Kassim was in hospital last night after suffering a heart attack at a veterans’ football game.
Dollah, 60, collapsed at half-time during the annual Sultan of Selangor Cup curtain-raiser match between the veterans of Singapore and Selangor at the Jalan Besar Stadium yesterday evening. He is in intensive care at Tan Tock Seng hospital, where he is in stable condition after undergoing an emergency angioplasty, a procedure to unclog blocked arteries.
Dollah, affectionately known as the ‘Gelek King’, represented Singapore as a striker between 1968 and 1979. A regular at veterans’ matches, he had played 10 minutes of the first half of yesterday’s game before being substituted.
Witnesses said he suffered a seizure during the interval, and was taken to hospital in an ambulance and admitted at 7.20pm.
Said teammate Samad Allapitchay, who was next to Dollah at the time: ‘His eyes were white and he just stopped breathing, so I immediately shouted for the doctor. From what I know, he suffered a massive heart attack but he’s in stable condition now.’
Said a Football Association of Singapore spokesman last night: ‘Our thoughts and prayers are with Dollah and his family at this difficult time and we wish him a speedy recovery and we are rendering all assistance necessary.’
In 2006, S. Rajagopal, another household name from 1970s football, had a heart attack while on the pitch. Rajagopal was the coach of last night’s Singapore team.
According to my sources, the Singapore football legend is still unconscious and in critical condition in Tan Tock Seng Hospital. The family has been keeping vigil at TTSH.
Dollah Kassim is a hero to many Singaporeans, particularly that generation of Singapore football fans who grew up on that steady and heady diet of Malaysia Cup football in the 1970s. Till today, the 60-year-old brings a smile to many people’s faces when they recall his flamboyant dribbling skills and goals that he struck for Singapore.
Please keep him and his family in your thoughts and prayers, and if you are religious, please, please pray for his quick recovery.
Yours in sport
Singapore Sports Fan