The Beautiful Game

The Beautiful Game

22 February 2024

KDEBWM’s Managing Director, Dato’ Ramli Tahir proudly displaying the trophies that his team has won over the years along with his company’s jersey.

“People only remember the champ.” -Dato’ Ramli Tahir


The first thing you’ll notice upon entering the office of the KDEBWM’s Managing Director is the generous amount of football memorabilia that adorn his walls.

Signed and framed jerseys that line the corners. Proudly displayed trophies on the desks.

A custom-made office chair in the design of Argentina’s blue white stripes with the number 10 under the emblem. The number of the legends. The game maker.

Dato’ Ramli Tahir is a number 10 too. A local legend, not just in the corporate world but in the Selangor football community.

“Last week in Kota Kinabalu during the Selangor EXCO’s Retreat, we had a football match between all EXCOs and Selangor stakeholders, and I scored the winning goal,” he begins enthusiastically. “I’ve been out of the game for the last year due to my knee surgery, but when Raja Muda asked me to play with him for the Selangor FC Corporate Partner Selection Team, I couldn’t say no.”

The beautiful game. It has many names. Whether on the green grass, street corner, or in the slums of the barrios (quarters), a ball is kicked among friends, transcending age, creed, faith, or loyalty. The unifying force is the undying love for the winning eleven.

The man with the controversial opinion of ranking Maradona above Pele recounts his journey from a humble muddy field to the successful corporate director who almost named his first son after his football idol (if not for the better judgment of his wife).

“Since I started kicking in my mother’s womb, I’ve been trying to shoot to score. It is in my blood. When I was in primary school, aged 11 or 12, I represented the school in the tournament called District School Sports Council (MSSD) and we won. I was even the top scorer in Rembau. We went to the Negeri Sembilan state level but lost to St. Paul. Afterwards I went to MARA Junior Science College (MRSM) boarding school where I also represented the football team as well as becoming the top scorer in Muar, Johor. And when I went to university I also represented Universiti Utara Malaysia. Even when I was a team manager for a bank, I brought them to the National Bank Sport Council (NBSC) Cup. All the while playing in the position of the captain and striker.”

“Like every other boy in the kampung, I had to learn that football is not a long term career. Professionally, you can only do it short term due to the constant injury. However, it can be your mistress and be with you forever as a hobby or a way to stay healthy and active. It is also the best way to connect with your friends or a team and get to know them better through understanding how they play.”

“Football is a character building experience. It can be the best teacher when it comes to discipline and humility especially when you lose. Togel (shirtless). In Malaysia we have this culture of removing your jersey after letting in the first goal of the match. You got to play the rest of the game with shame and usually, that’s when you rise to the occasion.”

The KDEBWM Football Team, resplendent in yellow.

the best of every player. One flaw in the team, the whole game plan becomes weak. No solo glory. Everyone needs to be intelligent and play to everyone else’s strengths and help assist in covering the weakness of your teammates. Yes, you become the hero for scoring the goal but without your midfielders finding the opportunities and your defenders backing up the keeper from your opponent’s attacks, then no matter how good the striker is, he would lose the game. That should be the working spirit for the office.”

“Well, we do have our official KDEBWM FC which recently came out as Champion in Piala Amirudin Shaari in the Liga Super Gombak 2023 organised by Gombak Football Association. In fact, six of our staff are actually semi-pro football players who used to play for Perlis, Penang, Perak, Federal Land Development Authority (FELDA) and Polis Diraja Malaysia (PDRM). I also have another club called We Are Brothers FC and play in the Veteran League for the experienced players aged 45 and above.”

“I remember watching Chelsea play during those Lampard days of 2001 and was converted into a lifelong fan immediately and have then visited all the stadiums in UK such as Stamford Bridge and Wembley. It’s a must for me to visit stadiums in every country I visit – and I have up to today covered stadiums over 49 countries.”

Dato’ Ramli Tahir teams up with Tengku Amir Shah, Raja Muda Selangor.

“I have personally met Tony Cottee, Frank Lampard, Kylian Mbappé, Michael Essien and David James.”

“For me, the legendary Diego Armando Maradona is hands down the best footballer ever. There is no one like him. This is followed closely by Lionel Messi, Zinedine Zidane, Cristiano Ronaldo. Closer to home, the great Mokthar “SuperMokh” Dahari and Zainal Abidin Hassan must be mentioned.”

With the legendary Datuk Zainal Abidin Hasan, a former football player for the Malaysian team and the former Penang’s head coach for the Malaysia Super League.

Truly a sportsman, Dato’ Ramli Tahir went on to remind us of how he felt the Harimau Malaya spirit wearing the Malaysian jersey at Bukit Jalil Stadium even as just a spectator.

His passion for the sport sums up his mantra at work, helming a team and shooting for the stars – “I can walk fast by myself, but I walk further with others.” This ability to push oneself to the limit while nurturing a team to dream alike, think alike and work alike is what makes football a beautiful game. In fact, it’s what makes life itself beautiful.