Abdul Ghani Minhat
|Full name||Abdul Ghani Bin Minhat|
|Date of birth||23 December 1935|
|Place of birth||Kampung Solok, Rantau, Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia|
|Date of death||28 September 2012(aged 76)|
|Place of death||Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia|
|1969||Negeri Sembilan FA||3||(3)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
Tan Sri Datuk Abdul Ghani bin Minhat (Jawi: ابدول غاني مينهات 23 December 1935 – 28 September 2012) was a football player who represented the team Selangor FA and Negeri Sembilan FA in the 1950s until the late 1960s. He played as a striker and winger while representing Singapore and Malaysia. He was sent by FAM to undergo a training session at Eintracht Frankfurt, Germany and other countries. He was known as the Raja Bola (Malay for King of Football) and is considered one of Malaysia's greatest football players.
Datuk Ghani Minhat was born on 23 December 1935 in Kampung Solok, Negeri Sembilan. Ghani later attended Princess Road School (now Sekolah Kebangsaan Jalan Raja Muda) at the age of 10 in 1945. He represented the school football team and only played bare footed. Two years later, Ghani attended Sekolah St. John's Kuala Lumpur and continued to play for the school team. In 1951, his talent was spotted by local police officers who later gave him his first ever football boots. In that time, only professional footballers can afford football boots as it was very expensive during the late 1950s.
At the age of 17, his talent was later spotted by police officers who later invited Ghani to play with the Police Depot Football Team in the Selangor League. He was asked to play in the left wing position, even though he was right footed. He used this opportunity to develop his left footed skill.
In 1955, Ghani was chosen to play with Selangor FA in their attempt to win the HMS Malaya Cup for the first time in 6 years. Selangor faced Singapore in the finals and Ghani help Selangor beat Singapore 2–1 with Ghani scoring one goal to give Selangor first cup in six years. His performance was praised by his teammates. Shortly after the match, he was called up by national coach, Neoh Boon Hean to represent the Malaya national team in a friendly against Cambodia.
Ghani continued to play for Selangor over the years and Selangor was considered the best club in Malaya with the name The Red Giants. Ghani, alongside M. Chandran, Stanley Gabrielle, Robert Choe and Arthur Koh, Selangor was a very powerful and feared team across Malaysia and Singapore.
One of his most invaluable experiences was being sent on attachments to gain experiences and undergo better training to several clubs in England (West Ham United, Arsenal, Spurs), Wales (Cardiff City) and Germany (Eintracht Frankfurt) in 1962.
In 1967, Ghani help Selangor to qualify the first ever 1967 Asian Club Championship. They manage to go in the finals after beating Tungsten Mining FC of South Korea thanks to the goal that Ghani scored. The Israeli club Hapoel Tel Aviv manage to overcome Selangor by beating Ghani side 2–1 in Bangkok. However, Selangor was praised by the Football Association of Malaysia by being the first team to qualify the finals in the Asian Club Championship.
He ended his career as a player with an excellent record with scoring over 100 goals in national and state levels and scoring more than 300 goals for Selangor. He retired from football in 1968.
In 1956, after Ghani made a brilliant performance for Selangor, national coach, Neoh Boon Hean brought team to the national squad for the friendly against Cambodia. Ghani's first appearance with the national team was very impressive when Ghani scored an amazing seven goals to helping Malaysia beat Cambodia 9–2. This was Ghani's first time playing for Malaya.
The following year, he scored his first goal in the first ever edition, inaugural 1957 Pestabola Merdeka from an amazing 40 meters rocket shot against Vietnam in the tournament held at the Padang TPCA, Princess Road in 1957. But the Ghani was disappointed after failing to win the trophy for his country after Hong Kong emerged as champions. Ghani managed to overcome his disappointment in 1958 when he helped the national squad won the 1958 Pestabola Merdeka after being the group champions above Hong Kong and Indonesia.
Ghani then helped the national team to retain the title Pestabola Merdeka in 1959 after beating Indonesia 2–1. He later received the title King of Football from Football Association of Selangor (FAS), a title later used by anyone to refer to him for his brilliant performance for Malaya.
He completed his hat-trick in the 1960 Pestabola Merdeka. Malaya eventually shared the title with Asian Giants, South Korea. During the years, Ghani managed to achieve several permanent records to this day such as scoring 34 goals in nine games for the national team. In 1961, Ghani help the national team's to win the gold medal in the 1961 SEAP Games (now SEA Games) in Rangoon, the Burmese (now Myanmar) after beating the Burma in the finals.
Ghani officially retired from international football after the 1963 Pestabola Merdeka which Malaya failed to win the cup.
After his retirement, He was sent to Japan by the Football Association of Malaysia to attend a FIFA Coaching School being the first ever Malaysian to have an official training from FIFA. After having 1 year of Coaching studies in Japan, He finally received his coaching license in 1969. He was appointed to be the coach the national team replacing Peter Velappan in 1969. His first duty for the national team was an unrecorded friendly match in Tokyo. Ghani was in charged with the national team for the 1969 Merdeka Tournament, 1969 King's Cup and the 1969 SEAP Games. Ghani resigned as national coach after his marriage with Tengku Aishah Tengku Ibrahim.
After only coaching the national team for one year, He later coached his favourite team, Selangor in 1970. In 1971, he became the first player and coach to win the Malaysia Cup after being the team coach and also playing in the final and the semi-finals. He again led Selangor Malaysia's Cup victory over Perak 3–1 in 1972. He then resigned as coach in 1973 because his main concentration was on business instead of coaching.
10 years later, Ghani returned as coach for Selangor after replacing Chow Kwai Lam in 1983. But his coaching career with Selangor only lasted three seasons after being sacked after failing to help the team win the Malaysia Cup in 1985 despite the successful season leading Selangor to win the 1984 Malaysia Cup after a 3–1 victory over Pahang. After Ghani left as coach, he returned doing business.
In 2004, he returned to Selangor but this time as a Coaching Adviser for the Football Association of Selangor (FAS). He later resigned from the Football Association of Selangor and agreed moved to his birthplace and became a Coaching Adviser for Negeri Sembilan. He resigned later in around 2007.
He died on 28 September 2012, due to the complications after undergoing coronary bypass surgery at National Heart Institute, in Kuala Lumpur. A. Ghani leaves behind wife Puan Sri Tengku Aishah Tengku Ibrahim, two sons and two daughters.
- Pesta Bola Merdeka Champion 1958, 1959, 1960
- Gold Medal 1961 SEAP Games
- Bronze Medal 1962 Asian Games
- Place the 2nd Asian Club Championship 1967
- Champions Trophy Malaysia 8 times
- The title of King of Football by the Football Association of Selangor.
- The title of "raja bola"
- FAM Special Award:2012
- Champions Cup Malaysia 1971, 1972, 1984
- - Order of the Defender of the Realm
- - Order of the Crown of Pahang - Knight Companion (D.I.M.P.) for Dato' title.
- - Order of Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah of Selangor - Knight Companion (D.S.S.A.) for Dato' title
- - Order of the state of Penang - Meritorious Service Medal