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Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Welcome to Bukit Jalil Hell

why do we even bother? why do we even bother getting stuck for more than an hour in a traffic jam? why do we bother rushing back from the office that afternoon? why do we bother coming from all parts of Malaysia, from as far as Labuan? to brave the thousands of sweat and smell just to get in the stadium? to shell out a couple of ringgits so we can bring the family along? why do we bother to take a day off so that we can watch the team play? why? because we believed. and the Malaysian team failed us. and failed us miserably.
last night's Tiger Cup semifinal between Malaysia and Indonesia has got to go down as one of the worst nights in Malaysian football. first of all, we lost the match 4 - 1 after taking a lead in the 1st half. but the misery doesn't stop at the field alone. in the stands, from a spectator's view...we were pathetic as well. the behaviour of some malaysian fans last night certainly rivalled the football hooligans of England. it was mayhem and chaos all over the place. and not to mention blood and sweat. one hell of a concoction.
actually, i kinda anticipated this. but not this bad. i was snickering when TV3 reported on the incident in Jakarta and some official (i think it was Dr. Ibrahim Saad) said that malaysian fans were not like that. obviously, he was spending too much time in the VIP box. non-provocative, good-mannered and obedient football fans? must be from outer space.
but that's no excuse for last night's behaviour. it kinda reminded me of the scenes on TV of the Ali Sami Yen Stadium in Turkey, without the flares. i happen to be sitting (more like standing) on the tier above the Indonesian supporters. people were throwing plastic bottles, firecrackers, food, almost anything at the indonesians below. this one guy near me...i don't think he came to the stadium for the match, coz he was busy provoking the indons the whole time. but to be fair, the Indonesians were rowdy and throwing things as well. u would expect that as football fans but in this pressure cooker atmosphere, it was a perfect brew for chaos to follow.
and to think it started out perfectly for Malaysia. the stadium was packed, with a sea of yellow everwhere (including yours truly). we got the 1st goal, which i happenned to miss as i was still searching for a place to get a good view. people were singing 'Inilah Barisan Kita' , the mexican wave was on, the crowd was noisy...it was a perfect setting for a football match.
and then the second half started.
to be fair to the Indonesians, we never deserved to win yesterday's match. we were lucky in the 1st leg as well, as the Indosians kept pounding away. but even the football gods have little patience for our pathetic display. 4 - 1 truly showed how we were outclassed by the strength, skill and speed of the Indonesians. it wasn't coincidental that the indonesian scored 3 goals in the last 30 minutes, because at the hour-mark, our boys looked like they just finished the marathon or something. we were huffing and puffing while the Indons launched their full-scale attacks. and it occurred to me.....what the hell are these people doing during training??
it was a truly dissapointing display by the boys yesterday. and u could not have asked more from the crowd. i've never been to a full-capacity Bukit Jalil stadium before but yesterday gave me a close idea to what it might be. people came from near and far, only to see Malaysia being whipped like schoolboys.
after the match was another story itself. it even got scary at one point during halftime when some Indonesian went amok in the stands. people were running and the police were all over the place. i saw some guy getting beaten up, not to mention countless other stories from friends who each had their own first-hand experience. it was a chaotic night with us Malaysians at the sad end of it.
as the dust settled on the pitch of the Bukit Jalil Stadium, we were all losers in the night. the team played badly, the fans were wild but at least the Indonesians have a cup final to look forward to. so another dissapointing outing by the Malaysian football team ends. we're getting used to this, aren't we?

note to self:
another resolution to add in 2005: will not see Malaysia play at the stadium again this year. will reconsider in 2006, only after Viera, Shevchenko and Ferdinand decides to have a change of climate and become honorary citizens of Malaysia. :)

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