Padang Pekeliling and Jalan Pekeliling in Port Klang will be named after the late Datuk R Arumugam, the nation’s famous footballer who hails from the port town.
Klang Municipal Council (MPK), which manages the mini stadium, will change its name to Datuk R Arumugam Mini Stadium and the road to Jalan Datuk R Arumugam, effective next month.
The name change will be the second time the mini stadium and the road names are replaced as they were called at the beginning the Vantooren Football Field and Circular Road, respectively.
Due to his exceptionally long arms and brilliant saves, the famous national goalkeeper, who was killed in a car accident on the Federal Highway near Petaling Jaya on Dec 18, 1988, earned the moniker Spiderman.
MPK president Datuk Mohamad Yasid Bidin told StarMetro that the Federal Government made the proposal in September last year, but it was kept under wraps as the municipality had to bring forward the matter to the Sultan of Selangor for consent.
“Comptroller of the Royal Household to the Sultan, Datuk Zakaria Abdul Rahman, has conveyed the good news that the Sultan of Selangor has consented to the name change,” added Mohamad Yasid.
Born on Jan 31, 1953, Arumugam, made his debut for Selangor FA when he was 18 years old in the Burnley Cup Youth Tournament in 1971.
He represented Selangor FA in the Malaysia Cup tournament from 1972 to 1988, during which Selangor FA won the Malaysia Cup eight times.
Arumugam was first called to be in the national football team in 1973 for the World Cup qualifying round matches in Seoul, South Korea.
He helped Malaysia win the Merdeka Tournament in 1973, 1974, 1976 and 1979 and represented the country in seven SEA Games.
He also helped Malaysia qualify for the 1980 Moscow Olympics which the country boycotted later.
Arumugam’s wife Maria Selvie, 57, said the move to honour her husband was a great privilege and humbling experience for the family.
“Vantooren Football Field was one of his earliest training grounds and it holds a lot of memories for me.
Maria (seated right) with daughters Subha (standing) and Rubha.
“It is from this field that we saw his mercurial driving force and football talent in the 1970s,” she said, adding that she first met Arumugam at that same field.
His friend NP Raman, who lived in Port Klang, said he was a great goalkeeper who lifted Malaysia’s name and inspired other teenagers to indulge in sports.
“Arumugam as goalkeeper, with defenders Santokh Singh and Soh Chin Aun, together with midfielders Reduan Abdullah and Shukor Salleh, made the Malaysian team a powerful force in the 1970s,” added Raman.
Arumugam did more than play the game.
As a benefactor through his own club Starbrite SC, founded in 1983, he contributed to the sports development of youngsters in Port Klang and Klang. – The Star