Choo Seng Que Visits Turf Moor
Choo Seng Que (Malaysia Football Manager) was sent to United Kingdom in January 1961 by the Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman to study the techniques of football training in England. After arriving in London at the FA head office, Choo Seng Que was sent by the English Football Association as a guest to the current Champions Burnley Football Club.
The former Sing Tao central defender spent six month at Turf Moor working with Clarets boss Harry Potts on tactics, formations and set pieces. He was also invited by both Burnley and Sheffield Football Clubs to watch some of their live matches. This would have included the Clarets run to the FA Cup Semi-Final at Villa Park against Tottenham Hotspur and the European Cup Quarter-final 1st Leg against SV Hamberg at Turf Moor.
On 14 June 1961, when he was about to return to Malaya he was awarded two trophies by the Football Association for the Malayan Football Association to host new local football competitions. The trophies were to promote youth football at the U19 & U15 levels and as part of the visit the Malayan Football Association named the U19 competition the Burnley Cup and the U15 competition the Sheffield Trophy.
Upon returning to Malaya, Choo Seng Que handed both trophies to Football Association of Malaya and on the 15th January 1962, the Football Association of Malaya decided to hold the first ever football match called the Burnley Cup. The competition was for U19 year old players representing their respective states. The Burnley Cup competition has succeeded in sharpening the talents of young players before joining senior teams in their respective states. The first winners of Burnley Cup were a Selangor team who won against Perak a with 4-2 scoreline at Kuala Lumpur.
Choo Seng Que returned to Singapore in 1965 and became the Singapore National Team Manager, a post he went on to hold on four different occasions. He won the Malaysia Cup in 1977, twelve years after Singapore’s last triumph. His achievements earned him the 1977 Coach of the Year award. The following year, he was honoured with the Pingat Bakti Masyarakat Medal for his services to Singapore football. In 1971, Choo Seng Que was also honorary coach of local clubs Burnley United and Singapore Marble and Tampines Rovers.
The Burnley Cup also started the career of Malasian International footballer Mokhtar Dahari who made his debut for Selangor Football Club in the 1971 Burnley Cup Final. He won a winners medal that afternoon and went on to signed a full-time professional contract with the club the following season. He stayed at the club for fifteen years making 375 appearances, scoring 175 goals. Dahari, then moved to Kwong Yik Bank Football Club for two seasons making 13 appearances, scoring 20 goals. His Malaysia International record was also outstanding making 140 International appearances, scoring 85 goals.
In May 1986, Mokhtar once again led Selangor to Malaysia Cup success. Before handing over his No.10 jersey to the Raja Muda of Selangor at the end of the match, the player announced his complete retirement from football. Two years later, Malaysia was awash with rumours about Mokhtar suffering from a rare disease. It began with a persistent throat problem and was later diagnosed as a type of Motor Neurone Disease (MND).
In 1989, Mokhtar left for London with his wife in an attempt to cure his ailment only to return a few months later without any signs of improvement. His situation continued to deteriorate while all possible avenues were explored to acquire an remedy. Finally, after battling the disease for three years, Mokhtar passed away at the Subang Jaya Medical Centre on the 11th July 1991.