Dollah Salleh wondered whether he had what it took to be a head coach when he was handed the reins of Majlis Perbandaran Petaling Jaya (MPPJ FC) in a bizarre twist of events – at a time when the former international had no ”A” coaching license.
However, Dollah – armed with only a “B” license – turned out to be pretty good and went on to write Malaysia Cup history as his rookie club MPPJ stunned favorites Sabah 3-0 in the final that was played at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil on October 4.
The Melaka-born Dollah was left in a daze. It was certainly a fairy tale end to the beginning of his coaching career. In a spate of events then head coach Reduan Abdullah was replaced by Ken Shellito but the Englishman himself could not do much with the club’s poor run in the league.
In came Dollah as the head coach and he was to turn things around. The Dollah “magic” worked wonders. The stadium was around 70,000 full, mostly with Sabah supporters and those who were working in and around Klang Valley and other parts of the peninsular.
Argentine hotshot Juan Manuel Arostegui was too hot to handle for the Rhinos as he plundered a grand hat-trick. His first came via a penalty as early as the 13th minute when he was felled inside the penalty box by Sabah skipper Jelius Ating.
The Argentine fired two more past Sabah keeper Khairul Azman Mohamed in the 64th and 90th minutes for a convincing 3-0 win. On the personal front is also a great season for Arostegui who took his personal tally to 50 goals in all competitions.
Malaysia Cup and Malaysian football history were written and MPPJ, which is now defunct, is the only club side to have won the much sought after prestigious coveted silverware in football in the country. It is the oldest football tournament in the country.
Jamsari Sabian, Abdul Raof, Kamarulzaman Majid, Khairil Zainal (Capt), Yuszaiman Zaari, Aiman Firdaus Tan, Azrin Shah Zainal, Zaidi Zaing, Bruno Martelotto, Paris Safwan Kamal, Juan Manuel Aristegui
Khairul Azman Mohamed, Jelius Ating (Capt), Ronny Harun, Burhan Ajui, Rezuan Khan, Madzalan Emoi, Zaykiel Leong, Robert spare, K. Sanbagamaran, Zainizam Marjan, Keith Gumbs
”It was a fairy tale ending to my first stint as the head coach more so when I did not even have the “A” license with me at that time. To be frank, my sifu was Reduan. I learned a lot from him and he indirectly played a role in the team’s success,” said Dollah from Shah Alam due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown. He is currently coaching Pahang.
“I will cherish my first Malaysia Cup medal as the head coach. It means a lot to me although I had won the Malaysia Cup winner’s medal as a player.
The Black Widows, as MPPJ was known – a name given by then MPPJ president Tan Sri Abdul Kaim Munisar – became the talk of the Malaysian football fraternity as the team added the Premier League title and the Charity Shield to their collection in 2004.
However, MPPJ vanished from the football scene in 2005 after running into financial problems.
For Dollah, he was in demand. His exploits as a coach did not go unnoticed and he was headhunted by Selangor and the Red Giants won the Premier League, the FA Cup, and the Malaysia Cup in 2005. – BY RIZAL ABDULLAH
A brief summary of the Dollah profile.
As a player.
1985: Malaysia Cup
1986: Charity Shield
1989-1990 – M-League
1987-1990 – Charity Shield
1992 – Premier League
1995 – M-League
1992 – Malaysia Cup
1992 & 1993 – Charity Shield
1989 – Sea Games gold
1986 &1993- Merdeka Tournament champions
2003 – Malaysia Cup
2004 – Premier League & Charity Shield
2005 – Premier League, FA Cup, Malaysia Cup
2012 – runners-up Premier League
2013 – Malaysia Cup
2018 – FA Cup
2014 – Premier League
NOTE: ‘Flashback’ is a series of stories reminiscing the best of Malaysian sports over the years. And this year being the first Centenary of the Malaysia Cup, the stories will hopefully invoke nostalgic sentiments of the oldest running football competition in Asia.