I had expressed my shock and disappointment when they jeered the Malaysian team in training yesterday. I had pleaded for some Malaysian support this evening.
Yes, the National Stadium at Bukit Jalil this evening was a sea of red, with 80,000 fans packing it.
I had imagined the worst for national coach K. Rajagobal and his team. But the MU fans pleasantly shocked me when they cheered for both teams.
However, the loudest was reserved for the Malaysian team in blue, when Mohd Amri Yahya scored minutes before halftime, and pulled level soon after the resumption of the second half.
Amri, who returned to the national team after a three year hiatus, at 27-year-old, not only had the honour of being the second Malaysian to have scored against MU (the first was K. Kanagarajah in 1981 when the Selangor Selection lost 4-1 to MU), but he went one up on Kanagarajah, not only because he scored two goals, but scored against two MU custodians. The first goal with Edwin Van Der Sar in goal, with a cheeky lob over him from about 40 metres, and the second, against Ben Foster, when he went around him to score the equaliser.
Rajagobal's boys may have lost to a Michael Owen debut goal in the dying minutes, but they walked out of the pitch as men and with their heads held high to the thunderous roar from the Red Devil fans.
I salute all the Red Devil fans, because they proved that they could have flooded the Stadium with their red jerseys, but at the end of the evening, they were all Malaysian at heart first!
And the fact that even the Raja Muda of Perlis, Tuanku Syed Faizuddin Putra Jamalullail who together with the Raja Muda of Perlis, Tengku Muhammad Ismail, met the Malaysian and MU players before the start of the match, wore the MU jacket, the red shirted Malaysians can be excused.
Kudos to all the 80,000 fans and of course Rajagobal and his men.
It will not be complete if I do not allow my son, Alwin, to finish off what he started yesterday in this blog. Yes, Alwin the MU fan, walked into the National Stadium this evening with his blue coloured Malaysian jersey as promised - the same jersey the Malaysian's wore yesterday. Read what he has to say........
The stadium today was packed! REALLY REALLY PACKED! About 80,000 people! The atmosphere was electrifying! One problem though. Everyone was wearing the wrong colour.
As promised I arrived in my blue Harimau jersey and took a seat in the crowd. I felt like a foreigner in my own country! The stadium was painted red. MU jerseys, flags, caps, scarfs! You name it, they had it. No wonder MU are so loaded! You would not have guessed that Malaysia was the home team.
In 2006, I went to Germany for the World Cup (courtesy of a very loving father) and I watched a couple of matches including the final. Every time I sat in the stadium for a game, it was packed! The fans were singing all throughout the game (maybe because they sell beer there!). I always wished that it would be the same in Malaysia. I don't mean the availability of booze (which would be nice too) but the chance of watching a game on home soil with that atmosphere.
Packed Stadium at the Final of the 2006 World Cup final in Berlin. ^
Here's something money can't buy!
Today my wish almost came true! Our Tigers came out with a roar! Although we conceded two early goals and managed to catch MU's very own circus clown NANI, do a few flips, I still believed in my team! Seriously! My friend (who hails from Ampang) next to me, turned to me after MU's second goal and said 'Bro, What's happened to YOUR team?'. My friend is currently back on holidays from Chicago where he is studying. NOTICE THE USE OF THE WORDS "your team".
I couldn't help but to wonder whether everyone in that stadium, thought that way. I have this theory which I mentioned yesterday, no matter how badly our harimau kalah, you will still sokong them deep down inside. Well my theory was proven right, when Amri Yahyah chipped over a very very tall Van Der Sar for Malaysia's first goal. At the start of the second half, Amri Yahyah rounds MU's future NO 1 goalie, Foster, to score the equaliser. Well the result, everyone in that stadium jumping out of their seats and screaming at the top of their voices. I bet you at that very moment they all wished that they also wore their HARIMAU JERSEYS! By the way my kawan from Chicago tu, that called Malaysia 'your team', well, he jumped, yelled a lot louder than me!
Moral of the story is, my dear Malaysians, jangan bagaikan kacang lupakan kulit. At the beginning of the match, everyone jeered our team! At the end, BANGGA pulak bila Malaysia tunjuk belang when they passed the ball around the tired MU stars. Although Owen decided to open his account here in KL, a 3-2 loss to MU, is still a really good result. I bet no one expected that. The odds for the game today was a four goal head start for Malaysia.
After the game, the most common thing I heard from groups of fans chatting outside the stadium was this "MU were awesome la, but Malaysia also not bad!'' Mind you, these were probably the same people that booed. I'm really glad that the Harimau proved them wrong and I believe, based on today's performance, they deserved to be called HARIMAU!! Lets hope we continue to roar on Monday!
So guys and gals, there is nothing wrong about supporting a foreign team, but remember which team comes first. SO PAKAI YOUR JERSI HARIMAU ON MONDAY!
PS:Neither FAM or Nike are giving me any commission for every jersey sold.