KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian football legend Chow Chee Keong, named as Asia’s best goalkeeper from 1966 to 1970, died after a struggle with bladder cancer, reports said Thursday. He was 69.
Named the “Asian Steel Gate” for his unwavering goal defence, Chow played for several Hong Kong clubs from 1970 to 1982.
Hailed by Brazilian football superstar Pele as one of the best goalkeepers he ever came across, Chow even turned down an offer by the Brazilian club Cruzeiro to play for them.
He died in Kuala Lumpur Wednesday morning after a struggle with bladder cancer.
“He was the best goalkeeper in Asia for five consecutive years, and a Malaysian football legend,” said Prime Minister Najib Razak in a tweet. “My condolences to his family.”
Chow played for the Malaysian national team from 1965 at the age of 15, becoming the country’s youngest international player.
He was the first Malaysian to play in England, with he signed for Southern League club Bedford Town in 1967.
His move into Hong Kong football started with a stint with Hong Kong Rangers FC in 1970.
Chow would later play for several clubs in the Hong Kong league, including Jardine, South China and Tung Sing before finishing back at Hong Kong Rangers in 1982.
He returned to Malaysia in 1982 and retired from playing three years later when he took up golf and becoming a coach for the sport in 1991.