Late Datuk Suleiman leaves behind a legacy in hockey and football

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‘Father of Johor Football’ dies at the age of 88
Former national football team manager and FA of Malaysia (FAM) vice-president Datuk Suleiman Mohd Noor passed away in Johor Baharu on Monday at the age of 88.
Suleiman, often referred to as “Father of Johor Football” breathed his last at 7.51pm at the Puteri Specialist Hospital while receiving treatment in the emergency room after being rushed there following breathing difficulties.
He suffered a heart attack in June and was hospitalised at the Puteri Specialist Hospital. Suleiman later suffered renal failure and was on dialysis. 
He leaves behind wife Norlida Abdul Jalal, son Mohd Noor and daughter Liza.
Suleiman – a name that needs no introduction to sports in the state and the country, especially in hockey and football.
The former Johor State Secretary held the post of Johor Hockey Association president for 20-years from 1980-2000. As the longest serving JHA president – Suleiman set a record in in Malaysian hockey and probably also in other sports associations.
He also held the post of deputy president of the Johor Football Association for the same number of years from 1976. Under the Johor FA’s constitution at that time the Menteri Besar held the post of president.
Suleiman was promoted as the State Secretary while serving as the Muar District Officer.
During his younger days Suleiman was actively involved in competitive hockey and donned Johor colours. He also turned out for Johor Malays and played alongside the likes of HRH Sultan Ahmad Shah, who is now the Sultan of Pahang, and the late Datuk Abu Bakar Daud in the 50s.
Johor hockey history was also written under Suleiman’s leadership when Johor won their first ever Razak Cup in 1988. There was more success during Suleiman’s tenure with Johor winning several national age-group tournaments like the National Under-15 and Under-21, as it made steady progress in Malaysian hockey.
Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah, the Regent of Pahang, described Suleiman’s passing as a “great loss to the country” and acknowledged his contributions in football and hockey.
“He was a good ally in helping football to evolve into semi-professionalism and eventually into full professionalism,” said Tengku Abdullah, a former president of FAM and the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC).
MHC vice-president and deputy president of the Johor Hockey Association Dato Majid Manjit Abdullah, who is currently in Italy on a business trip, said: Datuk Suleiman had the passion for hockey and football.”
“Johor hockey prospered under Datuk Suliemn’s leadership and the game took an upturn as the state became a powerhouse in the sport in Malaysia,” said Manjit, who served as JHA secretary for a major part of the Datuk Suleiman’s tenure as president.
A thing to be remembered about the unassuming Suleiman was his keen interests in the welfare of the players. He never compromised on that and always had time to listen to their grouses.
Today, Johor Hockey is made inroads into the game, both locally and internationally, thriving on the groundwork laid under the leadership of Datuk Suleiman and company. And for his contributions to Johor Hockey he deserves a big THANK YOU.
Despite his age, Datuk Suleiman was a keen follower of hockey and football at all levels of the game – with Johor close to his heart.
Former New Straits Times sports editor Datuk Lazarus Rokk said: “Datuk Suleiman united the Johor Sports Media together we helped in the revolunisation of Johor football. Johor, who were used as canon fodder  by the giants like Selangor, soon became a power themselves in 1985 they beat Kuala Lumpur in the final to win their first ever Malaysia Cup in the history of Johor football.” 
It signalled then, the awakening of a new power, a new giant. Johor also won the FA Cup in 1998. The Datuk Suleiman Mohd Noor Indoor Training Center in Sri Gelam in Joihor Bahru is named after him in recongnition of his contributions to Johor Football. It is the best Inddor training Center in South East Asia.
Suleiman was buried in Mount Austin Muslim Cemetery, Johor Bahru on Tuesday morning.
FAREWELL DATUK SULEIMAN, THE FOUNDER OF JOHOR FOOTBALL. – BY RIZAL ABDULLAH
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