Karl-Heinz Weigang And His Greatest Achievements In Malaysian Football

He was Malaysia's own version of Sir Alex Ferguson.

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Karl-Heinz Weigang And His Greatest Achievements In Malaysian Football
Image: Twitter/Perak FC

Malaysian football lost one of its greatest stalwarts.

It was a really sad day for the local football scene as former national football team coach, Karl-Heinz Weigang, passed away on Tuesday.

According to a report by ESPN, the 81-year-old died of a heart attack in Germany.

The Perak Football Association - the club he last managed before his death - broke the news on their official Twitter page early Tuesday morning:

Weigang was reportedly working with the club as recently as February, ESPN reported, before taking a leave of absence a couple of months ago to return to Germany for a minor eye surgery.

Weigang's death came as a shock to football fans around the world, as his name was synonymous with Malaysian football, Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin told local portal The Star Online.

In a career spanning 53 years, Weigang achieved a lot on the football field. Some of his greatest achievements came during his time managing the Malaysian national football team as well as Perak FC.

Here are some of his most memorable achievements:

Leading the Harimau Malaya to the 1980 Olympic Games

Weigang and his team of world beaters.
Perhaps his greatest achievement in Malaysia, Weigang was the mastermind who helped the national team beat the odds to qualify for the 1980 Olympic Games. Led by legendary local football players such as Soh Chin Aun, Hassan Sani, Santokh Singh and James Wong, Harimau Malaya defeated their arch nemesis South Korea - who snatched the qualifying spot from Malaysia in the 1976 Olympic Games - with a score of 2-1 to qualify for the 1980 edition of the Games.

Unfortunately, Weigang and the team did not make it to the Games as the Malaysian government made the decision to boycott the Olympics as a sign of protest against Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan.

His heroics were portrayed in the hit local film Ola Bola last year.

Bring two Malaysia Cups to Perak

Two Cups in a span of four years.
After his stint with the national team, Weigang accepted an offer to coach the Perak football club in 1997. His first stint with the club only lasted four years, but in that span, he brought two Malaysia Cups to the state. 

In 1998, Weigang and the Perak FA lifted the prestigious Malaysia Cup after defeating Terengganu 5-3 on penalties in the final. What made the feat even more amazing was the fact that Perak FA did not automatically qualify for the tournament; they had to fight for a spot in the preliminary rounds of the competition. In fact, they defeated Selangor - the defending Malaysia Cup champions from the year before - on a 3-2 aggregate to book one of the spots.

Then, in 2000, Weigang did it all over again as they defeated Negeri Sembilan 2-0 to lift the Cup. 

Saving Perak FA from relegation

Weigang has always been Perak's saviour.
Like a true saviour, Weigang answered the call when they needed him the most. In 2014, the proud club - which has never been relegated since the introduction of football league in Malaysia - were really, really close to the drop zone, scoring only six goals in 14 Malaysia Super League matches. That was when Perak FA turned on the Bat Signal.

Weigang rejoined the team in the middle of the season as Perak's technical advisor. With the team lingering in 10th spot in the 12-team League, Weigang famously promised Perak fans during a press conference that he will not let the team be relegated. 

And he did not disappoint. At the end of the season, Perak FA finished sixth in the League, way clear of the relegation zone.

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