KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 21 — Apart from holding a high level of professionalism, a fierce character and being funny at times, former national football coach, the late Ken Worden was approachable and well-liked by players.
Former national striker, Dollah Salleh when contacted by Bernama said he and Worden had crossed swords during a morning training session of the national squad in Vietnam as the coach who hailed from Preston, England refused to stop repeated free kick training for a player then.
“I was angry with him and asked him when he was stopping the training? We quarrelled over the matter,” said Dollah who was worried as the team would be playing in the evening.
Nonetheless, the professional attitude of Worden in coaching the national coach at the Vietnam Invitational Championship in 1992 was clear when he later called Dollah to discuss the team’s plan including forming the first eleven.
“This is among his strength because despite being angry, we know he cared for the team and we were able to talk to him as he was professional about the matter,” said Dollah.
At the same time, Dollah said Worden was wise as a coach as he was able to gain the confidence of his players.
He said Worden who had also coached the Selangor team and the national squad of Singapore would surprise players with his strange promises as well as his unusual antics when the team was victorious.
“He (Worden) was making all kinds of weird promises and when we were in Indonesia, he said if we win, he would drink from his shoe,” said Dollah who was among the closest players with Worden apart from former national maestro, Zainal Abidin Hassan.
The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) in a statement announced Worden, 78, had passed away yesterday.
According to FAM, Worden moved to Malaysia in 1991 as Selangor coach who emerged as FA Cup champions and Malaysia Cup runners-up before being appointed as national coach for two years from January 1992 to the end of 1993.
During his tenure, the national team won the Vietnam Invitational Tournament, the Jakartaraya Cup 1992 and the Pestabola Merdeka in 1993.
After that, Worden continued his collection of championships in Malaysia when he garnered the Malaysia Cup of 1995, 1996 and 2002 with Selangor. — Bernama