FADZIL ... ( front row 1st from left). Picture taken before the Malaysia v West Germany match of the 1982 Junior World Cup at the Tun Razak Stadium. Malaysia lost 4-2.West Germany went on to become the champions.
FORMER Malaysian hockey goalkeeper Mohd Fadzil Hadi, 52, died at the Selayang hospital yesterday.
Fadzil is best remembered for helping Malaysia finish fourth in the 1982 Junior World Cup at the Tun Razak Stadium.
Fadzil started his hockey career while with Tunku Besar Secondary School (TBS) in Tampin, Negri Sembilan, where he was coached by the late S. Sivapathasundram.
He was the first choice keeper in the TBS Under-18 team, and after the Junior World Cup, went on to represent Police, Negri Sembilan and United Asian Bank in the Malaysia Hockey League.
Sarjit Singh, the 1982 Junior World Cup skipper, paid tribute to the bubbly goalkeeper.
"He was the live-wire of the team and even in the worst of situations, he could always crack a joke or make a gesture which would lighten up the team's mood.
"Fadzil was a personal friend, and he always gave his best when between the posts. My condolences to his family," said Sarjit.
Sarjit added that on his day, Fadzil was the hardest man to beat.
"I remember him as a really happy man off the pitch, but very serious and stubborn when padded-up. And on his day, he was almost impossible to beat even in one-on-one situations.
"And remember, back then, goalkeepers were not padded like they are today, and one had to be brave to face the ball at high speed in thin paddings," said Sarjit.
And when he went for national seniors training under coach Datuk Sri Shanmuganathan in 1987-1988, former international M.A. Sambu remembers him for his "tomato" look.
"He was a little on the heavy side, but he really had determination in training and was never one to give up. I became friends with him when he joined the national seniors training under Sri Shan and back then, fitness training was a 'killer'.
"But Fadzil always managed to make us smile after a long hard day in training, and was a gem of a guy," said Sambu.
Media Prima chairman Datuk Johan Jaaffar said on Twitter: "Ebullient, exuberant, funny - to the family, a jester - formerly one of Malaysia's best hockey goalkeepers."