After a year not concerned about football in Sarawak, I’ve finally decided to return to the stadium. However, the decision was unfortunately not planed, and was done at the very last minute.
I left for home at about 730AM, figuring the traffic wouldn’t be that bad. Last year, I went for one game and there was little trouble getting into the stadium. This time however, the traffic build-up for the game was evident. The closer you got to the stadium, the slower traffic was! It was really unexpected!
Parked my car, and started walking to the State Stadium. I always preferred football matches to be played here despite it’s smaller size because the roar of the fans regardless of number could be felt. The Sarawak Stadium (the new stadium) felt ‘ghostly’ when it’s not filled to capacity. A small 5,000 crowd would seem like nothing in the new stadium, whereas the same number in the State Stadium would roar like there’s over 10,000 around!
To be honest, I did expect a huge crowd, but I still expected easy entry into the stadium. My expectation was about 8,000-10,000 fans, but upon arrival to the stadium, my eyes saw something I haven’t seen in ages! Droves of fans we pushing and shoving the gate, trying to get into the stadium. The ticket counter had an extremely long line, and when the ticket attendant brought in the reserved tickets (the actual match day tickets were sold out), fans rushed to buy them, cutting queue and providing a quick glance of the impatient Sarawakian side.
I eventually managed to enter the stadium at kick-off, but it took me another 5 minutes to find a good spot to sit. One thing about the State Stadium is that the cheapest tickets, get you the worst seats, and if the stadium was filled to the brim, you’d end up having portions of your view blocked by a roof, a steel post or a fence.
I rested by butt at a section opposite the main grandstand, with a good view of any possible attack from Sarawak during the first half. About 10 meters from me were a group of Kelantanese supporters being very patriotic =P
The highlight of e game must be the huge support Sarawak a.k.a the Crocs got that night. A full stadium filled with passionate fans, and an obvious number of Sarawak flags, with many donning the traditional red colour of the Crocs made the atmosphere wonderful. Every attack, corner kick and even free kick was met with shouts and songs of support from the fans. The atmosphere reminded me of when Alan Vest was still in-charge of the Crocs. The support was phenomenal. Co-incidently, the Crocs today don a similar jersey to the years of Alan Vest. Probably their lucky stripes?
The game however was a little disappointing at my end. Call it an overdose of English football, but Sarawak was not only toothless, but lacked both physical and mental strength. Kelantan played an organized and well mannered game, and they used their obvious physical advantage to the maximum. The first goal was a HUGE mistake by the defender and goalkeeper. The second one came after a silly misunderstanding between defenders.
Nonetheless, it must also be reminded that Sarawak wasn’t against just any team. They were against Kelantan, the champions of Malaysia, and they still managed to keep Kelantan mostly at bay. The next two games will prove vital for the Crocs. I hope to see more exciting games, as well as a win. I’d love to see the 30,000 strong crowd back in the stadium cheering our Crocs, and I’d love to again say with pride that Sarawak is a football powerhouse.
If you weren’t at the stadium last Tuesday, be there next week. Sarawak take on Felda United, and I am sure we can bite their asses for a full 3 points. The Crocs are on a revival, let’s give em a hand!
Sarawak play Johor FC at home (Sarawak State Stadium-Old Stadium) at 8:15AM. Be there everyone!