Malaysia won the AFF-Suzuki Cup on a 4-2 aggregate in front of a partisan crowd, in what is being touted as the first sign of a revival of the national football team's fortunes.
At first I thought it’s hard to beat Indonesia team and I guess Malaysians knew that we won't stand a chance of beating Indons in their own backyard, and that was why the 3-0 advantage made a lot of difference. Despite that, still Harimau Muda were able to sneak in 1 goal pass the bald goal keeper and it was really a beautiful goal.
I am so happy and proud!
The Malaysian team did great and deserved to win after going through horrendous media circus from both Malaysia and also from Indon. Believe me, we Malaysians were also relieved for the team to have won the cup.
For me, yesterday's tournament wasn't exactly just about the cup, it was also about bringing back our country's pride and honour. Malaysians shared part of the criticism, the remarks and jeers made by Indon media and their supporters.
Before the tournament, much horrible remarks were made by Indon media and fan blogs. Some even called us Malaysian "Maling" or "Maling Asia" in other words thief or theft of Asia, racist country, stupid people, crazy country, can't play football, weak and so on. It was hurtful, but despite all that we Malaysian has proof that we are better than them.
Rajagopal and team show the real Malaysia Boleh spirit. Good goalkeeping and Arsenal-level passing in front of the goal (first leg at Bukit Jalil), simply beautiful and fun to watch.
For the first time in my life, I have seen such a great enthusiasm shown by Malaysian towards Malaysian Football. Thanks Mr. K.Rajagobal and the whole team for making that happen.
Sport has always united countries. I remember South Africa during the apartheid era where only sports do not discriminate colours. The great Nelson Mandela did unite his nation when South Africa winning on the Rugby World Cup in 1995. 15 years later yet again a sporting event has united a nation, thanks to K Rajagopal and his talented young Malaysians. U don't need to spend millions to APCO to unite a nation. ;-P
From this victory, it will spur our national team to perform even better in years to come. I hope the government will start to give them better support and please don’t spoil them with money and Datukship awards. Please prevent politicians and others with their own hidden agendas from interfering with this team and don't reward them sky high like what the government did for the Thomas Cup winning team. We should learn from mistake. Just see what happen to badminton so call stars? After winning the Thomas Cup they went downhill like avalanche. To date we have not seen the recovery of the team.
How our boys going to fare in the future would depend on them 100%. What we should really do is to support them along the way and be critically positive with them, not negative. They have a long way plus many battles to come, but a good team doesn't just pops out from nowhere; they have got to start from somewhere and for a start, winning the AFF cup is a good omen. We Malaysians need to criticize less and be a good sport for a change. I think it's high time that we do.
But still, we have to be realistic. The truth is, the team has a long way to go. We were once ranked 75 in August in 1993. In the last 17 years, we have plummeted to 144 in the world. Not to pour cold water on this victory, but we have a long way to go. As long as the team uses this victory as a momentum to keep moving forward, there is a possibility of this team becoming a powerhouse in Asian football again and hopefully present itself into the the top100 teams in the world again.
Being SEA GAMES and AFF Suzuki Cup winners now is just an eye opener to the rest that we are waking up, that's all. A lot more needs to be done. Every other SEA country will start beefing up their team now. Every Asian team will take notice.
Iran, South Korea, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Australia are those we want to spar with next. Now we need to face them, get slaughtered, learn from the mistake and go back for the kill!
Till then...we await their mauling! Hidup Harimau Malaysia!
Ps. : For the Malaysian fans, I think we need to show more respect to the other team and make sure that the same thing does not happen as in the first leg where there is fireworks and well, laser. This only tarnishes the victory and people will remember us for what we did and not how the game went. It takes a lot of the glory away. So to those who were responsible for the uncivilised display, please don’t do it again and spoil our name. Remember, we are Malaysians and we are a civilized society.