Malaysia earned themselves bragging rights at the 26th South East Asian (SEA) Games after they dramatically beat bitter rivals Indonesia 4-3 on penalties last night.
As a football fan, I have never put so much hope on the Malayan Tigers (Harimau Malaya) as they sucked 10 years ago. They were so bad, that everyone labelled them as ‘hopeless’, ‘useless’ and ‘effort-less’. Things seem to have changed these few years.
Malaysia now has a group of players the nation can be proud off. They play with huge pride, and it’s obvious how they really play. No one minds a team which plays their heart out, but still looses out. The current team, not only plays like they really want to win, they actually do win! Talk about being so far better than their seniors!
To top that up, last night saw a very well organized yet disciplined Malaysian team. They kept the ball at the feet, made short but successful passes, and the team work between them was evident. They were in fact down as early as the 6th minute, and with over 90,000 Indonesians at Senayan Stadium jeering and mocking them (including being guilty of blowing horns during our national anthem, NegaraKu), they still worked their way to equalize.. and eventually won by penalties in what I can say was a nerve-wrecking game. It was one of the most intense game I’ve ever watched, and to have Malaysia win was like “Whoooaaahhhhh!!!“
To the credit of the Indonesian football team, they were just superb. The talent they had was evident, and they played like true heroes. Despite the defeat, the Indonesians should be proud of this bunch of players which really gave everything they had to win the game. Nonetheless, Malaysia proved the better side tonight with the win.
But of course, I think the biggest winners last night was football and solidarity. Regardless of what the Indonesians supporters in the stadium did, no matter how hard they jeered and disrespected Malaysia through their actions, the 22 players on the pitch which were playing their hearts out kept their discipline and showed what true sportsmen should be like. Tackles did fly in, players rolled on the pitch like balls after slight contact, but then, the moment of magic erupted because after every tackle, came a hand to help from the opposing team. It was one of the best moments of the game last night. Magical, to be more precise.
In fact, at the prize giving ceremony, the Indonesian players were see congratulating the Malaysians, while the Malaysians choose to shake the hands of their Indonesian counterparts before celebrating their award. I also saw both teams exchanging smiles.
Yes, Malaysia won… but if you ask me… both teams were the heroes last night. Pure class! Lets keep it that way !