Football is the number one sport in Malaysia. When the national team won the AFF Championship for the first time in 2010, it meant a lot to many in the country. Even today, we still have very sweet memories of that tournament.
Scoring three goals in the final and finishing as the competition’s top scorer remains the biggest achievement of my career; the biggest achievement of my life.
I wanted to keep the memory of 2010 alive. So, I decided to launch 10 non-fungible tokens (NFTs) which depict my goal celebration from the final – the 10 being a nod to my shirt number at the tournament.
I chose the graphic designer to work on this. Nicholas Chuan is a well-known digital artist in Malaysia and has worked with Red Bull, Formula One, FIFA, UEFA and more, and has also created art for well-known athletes such as Naomi Osaka.
When it came to the design of these NFTs, I was closely involved in choosing the graphic image, the colour and the words.
As well as capturing the 2010 success in digital art, I wanted to really engage with fans in a fun way.
Football fans in Malaysia are extremely passionate. There were nearly 100,000 people at the stadium for that final against Indonesia in 2010.
As well as fans being able to own a piece of my story as a collectable, those who purchased the NFTs will also get the chance to play 5-a-side with me at a special event, and also meet my closest family and friends. I want it to be an experience.
These NFTs are a way to give back to fans, but I also see it as an opportunity to give back to players. I’m the President of the players’ union in Malaysia and part of the proceeds generated from these NFTs will go to help players here.
I’m 38 years old now and I have played at club level for over 20 years, I played for the national team for over 10 years. I’ve been involved in Malaysian football for a long time and advancing the interests of players here is something I’m passionate about.
NFTs are relatively new business, especially in Malaysia, and I see this enterprise as something that can help with my planning for the future.
At some point, every player has to think about the future and life away from the pitch. It is so important for players to have the right people around them in order to help prepare for that next step.
In my role as President of the Professional Footballers' Association Of Malaysia, I want to inspire other players.
I want to help show players in Malaysia that there are so many other avenues that can be explored outside of football.