GEORGE TOWN - Former international football striker Isa Bakar died of illness at the Penang Hospital yesterday. He was 58.
His family rushed him to the hospital on Friday when he was found coughing out blood.
Isa is survived by his wife, Mazlina Ismail, 49, daughters Nur Aishah, 22, Nur Liyana, 21, Nur Kamalia, 19 and son Muhd Firdaus, 16.
His remains were taken to his home in Sungai Ara and from there to Masjid Hashim Yahaya in Jalan Perak for prayers. He was buried at the Jalan Perak Muslim cemetery.
Scores of well-wishers, relatives and members of the football fraternity, including Datuk Soh Chin Aun, Shukor Salleh, Namat Abdullah, Osman Bakar, Datuk Mohd Junid Mohd Noor, C. Nadarajah, N. Baskaran, T. Sambanthan, Khairil Hashim, Robert Scully, G. Gopalakrishnan, Soh-Toh Kim Chew, Nik Hassan Nik Mat, Ooi Hock Kheng, Moey Yok Ham, K. Rukumaran, Kamal Khalid, Aziz Azizan, Looi Teik Huat and Northern Telekom general manager Oh Boon Thean were at his Sungai Ara home to pay their last respects.
Isa and his brothers, Osman and the late Ali, represented the country during their heyday. They were known as the formidable Bakar brothers.
Another sibling, Omar, was a state player.
Isa, who donned the No. 9 jersey, also partnered the legendary "Super Mokh" Mokhtar Dahari when they represented the country.
Together with the late goalkeeper "Spiderman" R. Arumugam, defenders Soh, and Santokh Singh, along with midfielders, Wong Choon Wah, Bakri Ibni, Lim Teong Kim, Reduan Abdullah and Shukor, the team was a powerful force in the 70s.
Isa was also a member of the national team for the Teheran Asian Games where, for the first time in football history, Malaysia won a bronze medal.
He rose to fame while playing for Penang Port Commission in the Penang FA League before representing Northern Telecoms.
Soh described Isa as a real role model of the 1Malaysia concept as he was one who easily befriended anybody, irrespective of race or colour.
"I have lost a very great friend. I met him about three weeks ago when he came to Kuala Lumpur for a game."
Shukor said personalities like Isa were rare. "He was a jovial person who could keep everyone laughing, but as a player he was disciplined."
A tearful N. Baskaran, who played alongside Isa for more than 10 years in the Penang team, said: "It is very difficult to find a friend like Isa."
Former Penang FA secretary Datuk Mohd Junid Mohd Noor said: "Isa was one of a kind who never said no when you approached him for help. He would go out of the way to help people and that is one of the main reasons why this wonderful man died in the holy month of Ramadan."