Mubin conveys his condolences
Former Malaysian footballer makes heartfelt call to Anthonysamy's brother
When S Puspanathan saw a Malaysian number flashing on his mobile phone on Thursday night, he thought it was a relative trying to reach him.
Instead, it was former Malaysian footballer Mubin Mokhtar who called to convey his condolences after Puspanathan's younger brother, S Anthonysamy, died earlier in the day.
Puspanathan said: "It was Mubin on the line and he called to pass on his condolences.
"From the tone of his voice, you could tell that maybe he still felt some guilt about the incident, but I told him he shouldn't feel that way.
"It was a freak accident that can happen in football and it wasn't his fault in any way."
That accident happened 20 years ago.
Shortly after coming on as a substitute for Woodlands Wellington in a friendly against Selangor, Anthonysamy was floored following a challenge with Mubin, who landed with his full weight on the Singaporean.
Anthonysamy ended up fracturing two vertebrae near his neck, which left him paralysed from the neck down.
The 51-year-old, who was said to never have held a grudge against Mubin, died at the Singapore General Hospital on Thursday after falling seriously ill with a chest infection.
Yesterday, more tributes poured in for the former national winger.
Ex-national team captain Aide Iskandar, 10 years his junior, admired Anthonysamy for his positive attitude.
"I grew up watching him in the Malaysia Cup and I saw a lot more of him when I was a young player," Aide told The New Paper. "I played against him and he can be remembered for his work-rate and tenacity as a winger… He was never easy to play against.
"He was one of those who inspired a lot of young footballers at that time to want to play football and I have only good things to say about him.
"Even though he was paralysed, he was still so positive, always smiling and believing that things would be better. These are the attributes of a fighter."
Another former national skipper, Lim Tong Hai, believes Anthonysamy provided an shining example that others should strive to follow.
He said: "We were selected for the national team at the same time and I remember him as a fast and nippy winger, but also someone who was always jovial.
"It took a lot of courage for him to maintain the strong front he did (after his injury), but a lot of credit has to go to his wife and family for standing by him through the 20 years.
"I admire his courage to keep going despite his setbacks and his perseverance is something we should all aspire to achieve."