Friday, August 28, 2009

In Memory, Halim Abdul Hamid - First Malaysian to officiate a FIFA World Cup match

The first Malaysian to ever officiate a FIFA World Cup match, has passed away on Thursday, 27 August 2009, during the holy month of Ramadhan.

The demise of world-class football referee Captain (Retired) Halim Abdul Hamid is a great loss to the football refereeing fraternity in Malaysia and Asia.

Halim made history as the first Malaysian to be appointed by the world football governing body (FIFA) as Assistant Referee at the 1998 World Cup in France.

Halim was assistant referee in the highly anticipated match between England and Argentina in the 2nd round of the 1998 World Cup.

The highly charged and conroversial match ended 2-2 but Argentina went on to the next round after winning the subsequent penalty kicks 4-3.

The match was best remembered for 2 iconic occassions - a red card against David Beckham for a deliberate foul on Diego Simone and a Michael Owen wonder goal. Michael was only 18 at that time.

After England's exit from the 1998 World Cup, Beckham was a constant victim of criticisms and hatred by the diehard English fans.

He was singled out as the cause of England's premature exit from the competition.

It took Beckham 4 years to heal the wound - he scored a decisive penalty against Argentina again at the 2002 World Cup in Japan/Korea.

Well, back to Halim Abdul Hamid story.

The Kangar-born referee died at 9.25pm on Thursday, after losing the battle with lung infection at the Tuanku Fauziah Hospital.

He is survived by widow Wan Manira Wan Mustafa, 47, and their four children aged between nine and 16.

Meanwhile, Wan Manira said she accepted Halim's demise as fated although life would not be the same without her husband.

"He had a very strong determination and was always far-sighted. He always wanted to become a world-class referee and worked hard to achieve that," she said.

Also paying their last respects were Kangar Member of Parliament Datuk Seri Mohd Radzi Sheikh Ahmad, and other referees.

Halim was laid to rest at the Tok Peduka Muslim cemetery after Friday prayers.

Rest in Peace sir, God Bless your soul.

Here in this video, the late Halim can be seen at 00.30 onwards, leading the 2 opposing players of the giants of World Football - England's top striker Alan Shearer and Argentine's top goal poacher - Gabriel Batistuta can be seen behind Halim.

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