Saturday, August 16, 2003

The hearts of our fans lie abroad (15/08/2003 - The Malay Mail)

Publication : MM
Date : 15/08/2003
Headline : The hearts of our fans lie abroad

IT is sad that the Malaysia Cup kicking off next Wednesday is not getting
the same attention from the local fans who are more excited about the
English Premier League (EPL).
The new EPL season starting tomorrow is the talk in schools, offices,
streets, restaurants, pubs, warong, and even in the toilets!
Even Malaysian women are getting excited over it.
Last Sunday at a street soccer party in Bangsar during the launch of the
New Straits Times special pullout, EPLplus, about 5,000 fans packed Jalan
Telawi 3 to watch the Community Shield match between Manchester United and
It was a fantastic response to a match played thousands of miles away.
Ironically, on the same night in Penang, the Malaysia Cup draw was made
without much hype.
The next day, folk were still excited about the Community Shield match
but there was hardly any talk of the Malaysia Cup draw.
Without doubt, the EPL and European Champions League have captured the
imagination of Malaysian fans in a big way - thanks to the live telecast
of many matches from the continent and wide coverage in Malaysian
Teams like the Red Devils have Malaysian fans so much in thrall that
they suffer withdrawal symptoms when the EPL season ended. Many just did
not know how to spend their time in the evenings while many woke up in the
middle of the night, disappointed there was no live telecast.
On the other hand, during the M-League, teams were playing to half-
filled or near-empty stadiums across the country. Malaysian fans no longer
talk about their local teams or players.
Even the giants like Selangor have lost their allure.
What is happening to Malaysian soccer?
Talk to any fan on the street, and he will say that the standards of
Malaysian soccer have suffered.
Or is it because these fans have acquired a taste for foreign soccer
that they start comparing Malaysian players with the foreign teams?
Whatever it is, there is no denying that Malaysian soccer standards have
dropped drastically.

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