BY LIM HAN MING
FORMER Malaysia Cup hero Dollah Kassim is still in critical condition after suffering a heart-attack on Sunday.
The 60-year-old ex-international was taken to Tan Tock Seng Hospital after collapsing at half-time during the Sultan of Selangor's Cup curtain-raiser between veterans of Singapore and Selangor at Jalan Besar Stadium.
Family members, including his son and daughter, are keeping vigil at the hospital.
At press time yesterday, Dollah was still in intensive care.
"Dollah is still unconscious and he is critically ill, but his condition has not deteriorated from Sunday," said a spokesman from Tan Tock Seng Hospital yesterday.
Dollah, who is popularly known as the "Gelek King" for his mesmerising dribbling skills while playing as a striker for the national team from 1968 to 1979, captained Singapore in the second half of the 1977 Malaysia Cup final, where Singapore beat Penang to end a 12-year drought.
One of the most affable football legends in Singapore, news of his collapse shocked the football fraternity.
Yesterday, many of his former team-mates, coaches and friends turned up at Tan Tock Seng Hospital, although they could not see him as he was kept under observation in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
Tampines Rovers' goalkeeping coach, Shahri Rahim, was one of them.
He told The New Paper: "I didn't get to see Dollah because he was in the ICU ward. But I met his family and offered my support.
"I actually advised him not to play in the match on Sunday, but he decided to play because of his passion for the game."
News of Dollah's heart attack has struck a chord with local footballing fans, even those who were not even born when he became a household name in the 1970s.
Mulyadi Ibrahim, a regular contributor to The New Paper's Postman website, had some words of encouragement for Dollah.
He said: "Get well soon, Uncle Dollah. To the family of Uncle Dollah, everything will be all right with God's will."
Another reader, Sufian, said: "Best wishes to Dollah Kassim and his family.
"The whole of Singapore is praying for your quick recovery."
Those who wish to pen your well wishes for Dollah can go to www.tnppostman.com.
This article was first published in The New Paper.