Lim Yong Liang



Lim Yong Liang (b. 1 December 1900–d. 29 October 1982, Singapore) is one of the most prominent names in Singapore football history, having made his mark as a player, coach and administrator.1 Lim made seven appearances at the Malaya Cup tournament and led his team to win the Java football championship while playing for Batavia (now known as Jakarta) in 1925.2 He later served as honorary secretary of the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) for more than 20 years.3 Lim was fondly known as ‘Pop’ by fellow soccer players, fans and officials, and was also unofficially termed as ‘the greatest centre-forward Singapore has ever produced’.4

Early football career
Lim was educated at St Joseph’s Institution, where he played for the school team. In 1919, while still attending school, Lim joined White Star XI, one of the best local football clubs at that time. It was at White Star that Lim Kee Cheok, one of the founders of the Straits Chinese Football Association (SCFA), talent-spotted him.5 The young forward joined SCFA in 1920, becoming a regular on the team playing in the first division of the Singapore League, before assuming captaincy of the team.6

Malaya Cup and Batavia
Lim’s exploits in the local league earned him a place in Singapore’s Malaya Cup team.7 He first joined the tournament in 1922 and went on to represent Singapore in 1923 and 1925 to 1929. In 1934, he was recalled to the Singapore team and played in the Malaya Cup, which Singapore won that year.8

In 1924, in protest over the perceived unfair suspension of Chinese team player, Chan Hee, the SCFA submitted to the Singapore Football Association the resignation of the Chinese team from the league.9 As such, Lim played for Batavia in the Java football championship, eventually leading Batavia to win the 1925 championship.10 In 1928, Lim shone in a famous friendly match between Singapore and Australia. Playing alongside his regular partners, Dolfatah and Mohammed Noor, in Singapore’s forward line, the trio brought Singapore a 4–2 victory.11 Singapore’s win caught fans by surprise as the odds were stacked against the home team, with Australia described as a ‘formidable visitor’ and ‘undefeated’ at that time.12 

Lim was regarded as one of the foremost forwards in Malaya and Singapore in the 1920s.13 A 1928 newspaper report named him the “leader of the attack for both the SCFA and [Singapore]”.14 Lim's contemporary, Theo Leijssus said that “[h]e simply had the knack of knowing where, when and how to distribute the ball. He used his brains".15 Lim was also known as one of the ‘cleanest’ players for having a clean record and good conduct during his time on the field.16

Coach, manager and administrator
Upon his retirement from playing in 1934, Lim became a referee and coach and remained on the Singapore football scene, coaching the Chinese teams from 1933 to 1940. In 1936, Lim became coach of Singapore’s Malaya Cup team until the Japanese Occupation in 1942. He was also coach to the Malayan Chinese team when they played at the 1935 China Olympics, and manager for two of Singapore Amateur Football Association (SAFA) tours to Saigon.17

Lim’s experience and extensive knowledge of the game served him well as honorary secretary of SAFA; since 1946 he was re-elected to the post for the next 20 years. During this time he tried to resign twice, only to be persuaded by the SAFA council to stay.18 Lim left the post of honorary secretary in 1965, and was elected as the vice-president of the FAS, the successor to SAFA. However, he returned as honorary secretary between 1968 and 1971,19 and served as soccer advisor to the National Sports Promotion Board and FAS thereafter.20 For his services to the sport, Lim was made a Member of the British Empire (MBE) in 1959 and awarded the Public Service Star in 1964.21

Having been involved in football in virtually every capacity, Lim’s enthusiasm did not wane after his retirement from active administration. He continued to attend Singapore’s Malaysia Cup games, regularly making trips to away matches in his personal capacity. A frequent presence around the Singapore camp, Lim dispensed advice and encouragement to officials and players, especially his favourite player of the 1970s, Mohammed Noh.22

Death
Lim passed away on 29 October 1982. He had been in poor health and was warded at Toa Payoh Hospital for more than a month prior to his death.23

Family
Lim is survived by his son, John Lim Eng Chuan, and two daughters, Catherine Lim Kim Geck and Agnes Lim Kim Neo, as well as 13 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.24



Author

Alvin Chua



References
1. Low, J. (1979, December 1). 79 and still going strong. New Nation, p. 17. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
2. Soccer stalwarts of 2 decades. (1947, May 8). The Singapore Free Press, p. 7. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
3. Dorai, J. (1965, December 30). ‘Pop’ resigns and will go to UK to fulfil an ambition. The Straits Times, p. 19. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
4. Low, J. (1982, October 31). We’ll miss. The Straits Times, p. 36; Award to ‘Pop’ Yong Liang hailed. (1959, June 13). The Straits Times, p. 15. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
5. In the sporting limelight. (1933, October 15). The Straits Times, p. 13; Soccer stalwarts of 2 decades. (1947, May 8). The Singapore Free Press, p. 7. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
6. Soccer stalwarts of 2 decades. (1947, May 8). The Singapore Free Press, p. 7. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
7. In the sporting limelight. (1933, October 15). The Straits Times, p. 13. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
8. Award to ‘Pop’ Yong Liang hailed. (1959, June 13). The Straits Times, p. 15. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
9. In the sporting limelight. (1933, October 15). The Straits Times, p. 13; Football. (1924, June 13). The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (1884—1942), p. 12. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
10. Soccer stalwarts of 2 decades. (1947, May 8). The Singapore Free Press, p. 7. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
11. Award to ‘Pop’ Yong Liang hailed. (1959, June 13). The Straits Times, p. 15. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
12. Tan, P. (1976, October 21). Can S’pore repeat 1928 upset? New Nation, p. 19. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
13. Award to ‘Pop’ Yong Liang hailed. (1959, June 13). The Straits Times, p. 15. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
14. Selangor players. (1928, March 24). Malayan Saturday Post, p. 22. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
15. Francis, P. (1980, December 1). ‘Pop’, 80, carries on love affair with soccer. The Straits Times, p. 36. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
16. Soccer stalwarts of 2 decades. (1947, May 8). The Singapore Free Press, p. 7. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
17. Soccer stalwarts of 2 decades. (1947, May 8). The Singapore Free Press, p. 7. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
18. Dorai, J. (1965, December 30). ‘Pop’ resigns and will go to UK to fulfil an ambition. The Straits Times, p. 19. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
19. Francis, P. (1980, December 1). ‘Pop’, 80, carries on love affair with soccer. The Straits Times, p. 36. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
20. Award to ‘Pop’ Yong Liang hailed. (1959, June 13). The Straits Times, p. 15; Dorai, J. (1965, December 30). ‘Pop’ resigns and will go to UK to fulfil an ambition. The Straits Times, p. 19. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
21. Award to ‘Pop’ Yong Liang hailed. (1959, June 13). The Straits Times, p. 15; Dorai, J. (1965, December 30). ‘Pop’ resigns and will go to UK to fulfil an ambition. The Straits Times, p. 19. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
22. Pereira, I. (1971, August 15). 348 Merderka soccer games – that’s Pop Lian’s record. The Straits Times, p. 3; Low, J. (1979, December 1). 79 and still going strong. New Nation, p. 17. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
23. Siow, P. (1982, October 30). ‘Pop’ Lim, a soccer institution. The Straits Times, p. 39; PATH-DA-BHOG. (1982, October 30). The Straits Times, p. 32. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
24. PATH-DA-BHOG. (1982, October 30). The Straits Times, p. 32. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.



The information in this article is valid as at 2011 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

 

Subject
Sports, recreation and travel>>Ball games>>Football
Football players--Singapore--Biography
Personalities
Lim, Yong Liang, 1900-1982
Football coaches--Singapore--Biography
Personalities>>Biographies