Abbas Saad’s fabulous time with Johor

I was channel surfing one night in 1991 and came across a football match on TV3.

The team’s blue jersey with a big red ‘V’ caught my attention as did the names, Alistair Edwards, Ervin Boban and Abbas Saad. The team’s name – Johor.

I only found out later that Abbas didn’t play in that final but I’m not sure how I came across that name. Whatever the case may be, he became my favourite player in the Malaysian league, and I would go on to be a fan of Singapore in 1993 when he joined the Republic’s team.

Abbas’ first stint with Singapore was actually in 1990. He enjoyed a good first season in the Malaysian league with the islanders – finishing second in the league on goal difference to Selangor, lost the Malaysia Cup final to Kedah and was the team’s top scorer. He joined Singapore with Edwards, his strike partner from Sydney Olympic FC.

However, he left after one season because he had a lot of problems with the city-state’s coaching staff, then helmed by Robin Chan. It reached a stage where he felt it was either him, or them. The FA of Singapore (FAS) chose the coaching staff.

Abbas had offers to join many teams in the Malaysian league, including Kedah and Selangor, but he chose Johor.

At that time, Johor had hired an Australian coach that Abbas had worked with, Michael Urukalo.

Abbas knew Johor was a good team that had one of the best players in the league, Boban. The southern team had lost the Malaysia Cup semi-final the previous season to Singapore.

His move from Singapore to Johor angered many but Abbas felt he was pushed out and was happy to join Johor. He described his two seasons there as fabulous.

To listen more from Abbas on his time in Malaysian football with Johor, Singapore and his implication in match-fixing, tune in to this podcast by my friends at The Bola Bola Show.

This is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of Twentytwo13.

Tagged with: