Monday September 24, 2012
Football coach on life lessons from the beautiful game
WHEN Datuk M. Kuppan makes up his mind to pursue a dream, he makes sure he fulfills it.
As a football player to the days when he was Penang football coach and then national coach, he has charted a trail of success.
In his personal life, he has also tasted fulfillment.
He tied the knot with teacher G. Amirtha-mani 50 years ago and started a family.
Now at 75, he is father to three sons Suther, Siva Prakash and Siva Kumaran, and a grandfather to four grandchildren — two boys and two girls.
Kuppan is also a close friend of former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
Abdullah was his guest of honour during Kuppan’s golden wedding anniversary dinner at the Sree Mariamman Hall in Butterworth, Penang, on Sept 15.
So what is his big secret which makes him a success on and off the football field?
Kuppan said football had taught him to be a team player and this was where his success in life came from.
“The teamwork and focus needed when I was a player added strength.
“Playing for the state and then the country in a sport which is undoubtedly my first love has made me wiser,” he added.
“Football also made me a better person and a more understanding one when I decided to take up the challenge to be a coach at the end of my playing days,” he said.
Kuppan is still remembered as the last coach to guide Penang to Malaysia Cup glory back in 1974.
He joined the Penang Port Commission as a clerk and retired as a shipping officer in the Traffic Department after 31 years of service.
His football talent saw him drafted into the state team for a decade from 1958.
He was the Penang captain for six years from 1962 and his skills also earned him a ticket to the national team.
He represented the country from 1958 to 1966 in the Merdeka Cup championship and the then SEAP Games.
He played alongside well-known players such as Sexton Lourdes, Edwin Dotton, Ahmad Nazri, Tan Sri Ghani Minat, Yusof Bakar, M. Govingaraju, Majid Ariff and Rahim Omar.
He helped Malaysia emerge as Merdeka Cup champs in 1958, 1959 and 1961, and also SEAP Games champs in 1962.
Kuppan’s determination to excel saw him making the Asian All-Stars side in 1962 and 1963.
He then turned to coaching, marking another chapter in his football career.
He attending the FIFA Coaching School in 1972,
Kuppan was made national coach almost immediately after his training stint with FIFA.
He then enjoyed the privilege of coach- ing outstanding players like Datuk Mokhtar Dahari, R. Arumugam, Datuk Soh Chin Aun, Datuk M. Chandran, Datuk Jamal Nasir, Datuk Santokh Singh, Datuk Shukor Salleh, Ali Bakar, Isa Bakar, Wong Choon Wah, Datuk Namat Abdullah and James Wong.
In 1974, he guided Penang to Malaysia Cup glory.
He was then made the FA of Penang’s coaching director for four years from 1986.
He then became the advisor of the Bin-tang Biru Football Academy in Butter- worth in 1966, a position which he still holds.
Kuppan, who was also the Ex-State and Ex-National Football Association deputy president for 20 years from 1990, was a member of the FA of Malaysia technical committee for six years from 2004.
His work was duly recognised by FAM president Sultan Ahmad Shah who awarded him the Darjah Indera Mahkota Pahang which carries the title ‘Datuk’ in 2005.