The Blues great who fell in love with Sabah

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PETALING JAYA — One of Chelsea’s favourite sons Ken Shellito, who spent nearly three dacades as a coach in Malaysia, passed away in Kota Kinabalu yesterday.

Shellito, 78, leaves behind wife Jeany and two daughters.

The Blues fullback was a ‘one-club man’ who had a stellar career at Stamford Bridge (1953-65), making 123 appearances and scoring two goals.

He also played for England once, against Czechoslovakia in 1963.

Shellito also had a spell as Blues manager between 1977 and 1978 before a brief coaching stint with Cambridge United.

His adventure here started in 1992 when he was approached by the FA of Malaysia to become their head coach, a deal that did not materialse, but he filled a similar position with Selangor.

He then switched to Kuala Lumpur a year later as coach for four seasons, then with Perak his next stop.

After just one year in Perak, Shellito headed to Sabah until his return in 1997.

Shellito was captivated with Sabah that he later started his academy — the Ken Shellito Footballl Academy in Penampang in 2014 — and used the services of his former players Yap Wai Loon, Harun Laban, Ahman Omar Khan, Shariman Abdullah, Azah Ezrin and Suharmin Yusof to run his academy.

Prior to that, Shellito returned to Klang Valley where he joined the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) as a match analyst and also coaching MPPJ side which won the Malaysia Cup in 2003.

A two-year coaching stint with the Malaysian Indian Football Association followed before he returned to Sabah and has been with his academy since.

“Ever since I set foot in Sabah, I fell in love with the state. The people are so friendly and the place so beautiful. And it is a haven for football work too,” Shellito told Mailsport’s Tony Mariadass in 2014.

“I had always wanted to set up an academy in Sabah and to enlist past players to be involved in the setup.

“Football is my life. And I am glad that I am still at it in my ripe age. The game has certainly given me a great deal and it is only fair that I continue to give the game back as long as I can.”

Shellito was admitted to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital for lung infection and kidney complications and was discharged on Tuesday.

He passed away at his residence in Kampung Minintod, Inanam and will be buried on Saturday.