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'Nice guy' Raju a gem of a football man

As published in The Malay Mail today


By Haresh Deol

HE was a man who played an instrumental role in Malaysian football.

Yet, little has been heard of Raju Nagalinggam (pic).

The former school teacher turned football expert who later became a legal eagle, Raju was the first Malaysian to have obtained a football coaching licence from Fifa in 1969.

Born on Aug 10, 1940, in Butterworth, Penang, Raju had,   during his younger days, represented Kedah in football and athletics.

He went on to teach St Michaels, SMK Keat Hwa and Sultan Abdul Hamid College in Kedah before he was posted to Kuala Lumpur in 1968.

Raju then left the Education Ministry to join the Sports Ministry as a sports officer.

He spent four months at the Fifa academy in Japan to obtain his coaching license and later underwent a one-month course in Lilleshell, England to obtain the full coaching licence the same year.

He was then appointed as coach for the national youth team and was later made the national director of coaching. Among those Raju coached were Datuk Soh Chin Aun, M. Chandran and Bawandi Hiraral.

Raju was the Asian Football Confederation assistant general secretary (1980-1991) and was part of Fifa’s technical study group.

“He coached us during our younger days but was well remembered as a coaching director. He was someone that had contributed significantly to local football,” said Soh.

Former national coach Rahim Abdullah, meanwhile, described Raju as a “nice guy”.

“He was very sincere in whatever he did. There were times when he used to get frustrated but he knew what he was doing and he wanted only the best,” said Rahim.

Former player Datuk M. Karathu pointed out Raju was the first Malaysian to obtain a full coaching licence from Fifa.

Sadly, little has been documented about Raju’s achievements during Malaysia’s heydays in football.
Raju died on Dec 11 after suffering a short illness. He was 73.

He leaves wife, former SMK Maxwell teacher G. Shamburnam and two sons Dr Indran Raju, 40 and Dr Prathaban Raju, 32.

HD says: RIP sir.


  1. Many great Indians in Malaysia are forgotten people, thanks to the political doctrine practiced in this country.

    Politics and the ketuanan Melayu seem to overshadow all the good work done by individual like the late N. Raju and many more out there. All the component political parties in BN are busy with their own survival to an extent they sideline people who has contributed tremendously in the area of human capital development leading to sporting excellence. If we ask any politicians including deputy Minister of sports about Malaysia's sporting history involving such people like the late N. Raju, we can be assured of ignorance and unknowing on their part. But when there is moments of glory...they will be the first ones to stand out and show their face for the press to highlight them.

    Politicians are also like the others who can fall victim to serious illness and die. But most often when they go up the ladders and become so called leaders they always forget that God can take away their soul as and when he wishes-May God show mercy upon all men kind, and touch their hearts and make them see life through it.

    My deepest condolence to the family of the great N. Raju.

    HSKL Says: Don't only see through your eyes alone, also see through your heart as well. God bless all and Merry Christmas!


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