Rahim Omar



Abdul Rahim bin Omar, popularly known as Rahim Omar (b. 1934–d. 19 February 1990, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia),1 was a footballer who represented the national teams of Singapore and Malaya in the 1950s and ’60s.2 Known for his skill and accuracy as a forward, Rahim lifted the Malaya Cup five times with Singapore, and also played for Negri Sembilan, Selangor, Perak and the Malaysian Armed Forces.3

Early life and football career
Rahim left St Andrew’s School in 1947 to work in a local company. He often played football barefoot at Farrer Park, and spent long hours practising by kicking a ball through the rim of a bicycle wheel tied to a tree. At age 15, Rahim’s mentor Choo Seng Quee recruited him for the Chinese Athletic Club, making Rahim the only non-Chinese at the club.4 Rahim then joined the Fathul Karib club and played as a left winger in the second division of the Singapore Amateur Football Association (SAFA) league.5 

Rahim’s impressive performances for Fathul Karib led to a call-up to the state representative team.6 He made his debut for Singapore in a match against Indonesia in May 1951, and scored Singapore’s only goal in a 4-1 defeat in front of 15,000 fans at the Jalan Besar Stadium.7 In June the following month, Rahim made his first appearance in the Malaya Cup in a match against Johor.8 He remained in the team, but did not play in the final when Singapore won the Malaya Cup that year.9 He also continued to play for Fathul Karib in the SAFA league and for his employer, the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank, in the Business Houses league.10

Malaya Cup, Asian Games and other achievements
Rahim appeared in his first Malaya Cup final in Ipoh in October 1952, and it was his corner kick that created the winning goal for Awang Bakar as Singapore defeated Penang 3-2.11 In 1953, he moved from Fathul Karib to the Star Soccerites club.12 Rahim also resigned from his job at the bank when it did not grant him leave to represent the Singapore Malays team on a tour of Indonesia.13

Rahim then found employment at the Mercantile Bank, at times playing two matches in a day for the bank and for Star Soccerites.14 He helped the Soccerites win the first division of the SAFA league in 1954, and represented Singapore at the 1954 Asian Games in Manila.15 Rahim also played for the Malayan Chinese team as a guest player on their tour of Hong Kong and Vietnam.16 That year, he was Singapore’s top goal-scorer and The Straits Times named him one of the two best footballers of the year in Malaya.17

Rahim’s talents made him a target for rough tackling, and he had fractured his leg while playing for Singapore in 1952. His father wanted him to quit top-level football, and promised him a motorcycle if he retired from the game.18 Rahim agreed, and the Malaya Cup final in September 1954, in which Singapore lost 3-0 to Penang, was ostensibly his last top-level game.19 

In 1955, Rahim left Star Soccerites to play for Argonauts in the second division of the SAFA league. He helped Argonauts win the second division title, and also set a Malayan record when he scored 12 goals in a single match while playing for his employer, Singapore Telephone Board.20 English football club Luton Town, a second division team, was keen to offer Rahim a trial, but his inability to finance his trip to England ended any hopes of a potential move.21  

Rahim earned another Malaya Cup winner’s trophy when Singapore defeated Kelantan 3-1 in the 1955 final, but made the headlines when he failed to show up to play for his club Argonauts in the Senior Cup final in October.22 His frequent absences from training and matches led the newspapers to label him a “problem boy”, and Argonauts eventually sacked him from the club.23 SAFA officials were at times more indulgent of his absences and well-known love for billiards – Rahim was often to be found at the New World billiards saloon, and the SAFA president was said to have often personally ferried him from the saloon to the stadium, minutes before matches kicked off.24

Move to Malaya
In 1956, Rahim ignored invitations to join the Singapore squad’s training sessions and missed matches for his employer, Singapore Telephone Board, as well as for Star Soccerites, which he had re-joined. There were also strong rumours of interest from Portsmouth, an English first division team.25 By mid-1957, Rahim had moved to Seremban in Malaya, and played for Negri Sembilan in the Malaya Cup.26

Rahim was then selected for the Federation of Malaya’s national team and played in the 1957 Merdeka tournament.27 In March 1958, he scored three goals as Malaya defeated Singapore 5-2 in a friendly match.28 That year, he also helped Malaya win the Merdeka tournament they hosted, scoring a goal in the final against Vietnam.29

In August 1958, Rahim was employed by the Public Service Commission in Selangor and joined the Selangor Rangers club.30 He also represented Selangor in the Malaya Cup as Selangor reached the 1959 Malaya Cup final.31 Weeks before the final, however, Rahim began skipping training and missed the final which Selangor won.32

Return to Singapore and other moves
Rahim returned to Singapore soccer in 1959 and played for Fathul Karib again, before joining the Indian Recreation Club in 1960.33 He led IRC to the first division title of the SAFA league, and was appointed assistant coach to the Singapore state team.34 He also played for Singapore at the Merdeka tournament and scored in the 1960 Malaya Cup final as Singapore defeated Perak 2-0, but resigned as assistant coach in October that year.35

In September 1961, Rahim joined the Perak Turf Club Trotters team, before returning to his former team Selangor Rangers in March 1962.36 By May, he was back home and played for Singapore in the Malaya Cup.37 He also became chairman of the Singapore Football Players Association, which called a six-player boycott of the 1962 Merdeka tournament after disagreements with SAFA.38 In March 1963, Rahim was recalled to the team and helped Singapore reach the semi-final of the Malaya Cup.39

When Singapore became part of the Federation of Malaysia, Rahim was included in the Malaysian squad, then coached by his old mentor Choo, in September 1963.40

Rahim played for Singapore in the 1964 Malaya Cup and was instrumental in Singapore’s 3-2 victory over Perak in the final, which was hailed as the “Rahim Omar final”. Having scored a goal and missed a penalty, Rahim scored direct from a corner kick in extra-time to win the match for Singapore.41 The following year, he scored again in the final as Singapore defeated Selangor 3-1.42 

Coaching career
In 1965, Rahim coached the Singapore youth team, and in 1967, joined the Malaysian Armed Forces team.43 In 1969, Rahim’s wife, Caroline de Cruz, filed a bigamy suit against him after he married Hamidah binte Arshad in Kuala Lumpur.44 He was cleared of the charge after a two-day trial in the Singapore district court, and eventually divorced de Cruz.45

In 1975, Rahim returned to Singapore and was employed as a sports officer by the Jurong Town Corporation.46 He also coached the Jurong Town team and in September 1976, joined the Singapore national team as an assistant coach.47 He left the post in February 1977 and thereafter coached various teams in Malaysia, including United Asia Bank, Bank Bumiputra and the Police.48

Death
On 19 February 1990, Rahim died of a heart attack at the Kuala Lumpur General Hospital. He left behind his wife Hamidah and three children.49



Author
Alvin Chua



References
1. Bryce, C. (1951, May 11). Rahim was only club reserve last seasonThe Singapore Free Press, p. 7. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
2. Former star striker Rahim dies. (1990, February 21). The Straits Times, p. 25. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
3. Suppiah, G. (1999, November 14). Rahim charmed. The Straits Times, p. 52; Former star striker Rahim dies. (1990, February 21). The Straits Times, p. 25. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
4. Bryce, C. (1951, May 11). Rahim was only club reserve last seasonThe Singapore Free Press, p. 7; Dorai, J. (1990, February 21). A terror with a heart of goldThe Straits Times, p. 25. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
5. Bryce, C. (1951, May 11). Rahim was only club reserve last seasonThe Singapore Free Press, p. 7. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
6. Bryce, C. (1951, May 11). Rahim was only club reserve last seasonThe Singapore Free Press, p. 7. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
7. Indonesia rout Colony in 2nd half. (1951, May 14). The Straits Times, p. 12. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
8. Singapore can retain the Cup. (1951, June 3). The Straits Times, p. 18. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
9. Malaya Cup men chosen. (1951, August 30). The Singapore Free Press, p. 6; Singapore blaze to 6-0 win. (1951, September 3). The Straits Times, p. 12. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
10. Bankers take championship. (1951, June 13). The Singapore Free Press, p. 6; Decider in last 30 seconds. (1952, September 9). The Singapore Free Press, p. 7. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
11. Disputed goal gives S’pore Malaya Cup. (1952, October 13). The Straits Times, p. 12. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
12. Awang Bakar quits Tigers. (1953, January 16). The Straits Times, p. 12. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
13. ‘Be sympathetic’, says their coach. (1953, July 4). The Singapore Free Press, p. 14. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
14. Singapore selectors caught in two minds. (1953, November 6). The Straits Times, p. 13; Rahim gets 5 in all but it’s too strenuous. (1954, August 12). The Straits Times, p. 14. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
15. Rahim Omar will play one more big game. (1954, September 3). The Straits Times, p. 13; Singapore will put up good show at Manila. (1954, April 27). The Straits Times, p. 13. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
16. Rahim Omar joins MCFA tour party. (1954, September 22). The Straits Times, p. 16. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
17. We’ll be glad to give you a trial. (1955, April 27). The Straits Times, p. 14. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
18. Rahim Omar wants to quit top class football. (1954, September 2). The Straits Times, p. 14. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
19. ‘NO’ says referee; ‘I DON’T KNOW’ says Dave. (1954, September 14). The Straits Times, p. 14; Rahim Omar will play one more big game. (1954, September 3). The Straits Times, p. 13. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
20. We don’t want his services, say Argonauts. (1955, October 28). The Straits Times, p. 14; Rahim sets Malayan scoring record. (1955, August 4). The Singapore Free Press, p. 19. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
21. We’ll be glad to give you a trial. (1955, April 27). The Straits Times, p. 14. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
22. Early shock for Singapore. (1955, August 7). The Straits Times, p. 19; Mystery of a missing star in cup final. (1955, October 27). The Straits Times, p. 16. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
23. We don’t want his services, say Argonauts. (1955, October 28). The Straits Times, p. 14. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
24. Dorai, J. (1990, February 21). A terror with a heart of goldThe Straits Times, p. 25. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
25. Pompey ask for Rahim Omar. (1956, March 2). The Straits Times, p. 14; Rahim cries off. (1956, March 8). Singapore Standard, p. 14. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
26. Rozario, F. (1957, March 7). Secret of Rahim’s comebackThe Singapore Free Press, p. 15; Rahim paves way for Negri win. (1957, June 24). The Straits Times, p. 12. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
27. F.A. of Malaya names 20 for Merdeka Games soccer. (1957, August 12). The Straits Times, p. 12. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
28. Rahim scores 3 in Malaya’s 5-2 victory. (1958, March 2). The Straits Times, p. 19. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
29. Siebel, N. (1958, September 5). Malaya are champs. The Straits Times, p. 16. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
30. Rahim joins Rangers. (1958, August 6). The Straits Times, p. 14. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
31. Siebel, N. (1959, August 3). Penalty goals put Selangor in Cup Final. The Straits Times, p. 12. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
32. Joshua, S. (1959, September 15). Problem-boy Rahim keeps Selangor officials guessingThe Straits Times, p. 19; Siebel, N. (1959, September 27). Great Cup win by Selangor. The Straits Times, p. 24. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
33. Rahim Omar returns to S’pore soccer. (1959, September 30). The Singapore Free Press, p. 11; 3 Services stars join IRC. (1960, March 24). The Straits Times, p. 12. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
34. Seletar sink Fathul, so IRC are champions. (1960, October 27). The Straits Times, p. 13; Rahim Omar is asst. coach. (1960, June 1). The Straits Times, p. 15. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
35. Merdeka soccer: The full programme and teams. (1960, August 5). The Straits Times, p. 15; Siebel, N. (1960, September 18). Malaya Cup to Singapore. The Straits Times, p. 20; Joshua, S. (1960, October 26). Rahim Omar loses post as coachThe Straits Times, p. 17. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
36. Frida, E. (1961, September 1). Rahim Omar leaves Singapore ‘for good’The Straits Times, p. 14; Siebel, N. (1962, March 1). Rahim Omar returns to join RangersThe Straits Times, p. 17. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
37.Siebel, N. (1962, May 17). Rangers & the rules – Harun explains. The Straits Times, p. 17; Siebel, N. (1962, June 22). Singapore’s hopes turn on Rahim. The Straits Times, p. 18. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
38. S’pore FPA to boycott M-tourney unless… (1962, August 25). The Straits Times, p. 18; FPA boycotts Singapore team to M-meet. (1962, September 8). The Straits Times, p. 16. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
39. SAFA recall Rahim, Wah Chin. (1963, March 23). The Straits Times, p. 16; It’s Penang in the Final. (1963, September 15). The Straits Times, p. 16. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
40. Rahim Omar in Olympic squad. (1963, September 24). The Straits Times, p. 18. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
41. Pidgeon, B. (1964, August 9). 90-minute Malaya Cup thrillerThe Straits Times, p. 14. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
42. Siebel, N. (1965, August 1). Singapore’s Cup again. The Straits Times, p. 20. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
43. Dorai, J. (1965, November 3). 43 youths for training. The Straits Times, p. 23; Mansoor Rahman. (1967, February 3). Choo coaches the Forces. The Straits Times, p. 19. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
44. Caroline tells bigamy case: I didn’t give Rahim go-ahead to remarry. (1969, March 6). The Straits Times, p. 5. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
45. Rahim Omar cleared of bigamy. (1969, March 9). The Straits Times, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
46. Dorai, J. (1975, March 20). Rahim gets Jurong sports jobThe Straits Times, p. 25. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
47. Dorai, J. (1976, September 7). Rahim and Majid are ‘enlisted’The Straits Times, p. 29. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
48. Dorai, J. (1977, February 12). Rahim Omar going to greener pasturesThe Straits Times, p. 31; Former star striker Rahim dies. (1990, February 21). The Straits Times, p. 25. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
49. Former star striker Rahim dies. (1990, February 21). The Straits Times, p. 25. 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
Football players--Singapore--Biography
Malaysia Cup (Soccer)
Football players--Malaysia--Biography
Personalities
Personalities>>Biographies
Abdul Rahim bin Omar, 1934-1990
Soccer--Singapore--Biography
Soccer--Malaysia--Biography
Sports, recreation and travel>>Ball games>>Football