I know the football season for our national football team had finished after the Harimau Malaya’s saddening lost to fellow neighbor-rival, Singapore. After many wins, the Tigers looked to be back to its glory days of the late Armugam the Spiderman and Super Mokh only to be tamed by the southern Lions.
We all shares the same tears when our beloved national team lost. We only need 2 goals and we are through. Supporters had been bringing banners and placards written 3-0. They believed that Harimau Malaya can produce many goals as we had seen recently through our sensational striker, Safee Sali. With the lost, we had extended to 37 years not reaching the 3rd round of FIFA World Cup’s Asian Qualifying zone which is filled with the Asian’s powerhouses.
Reminiscing back the history, when Mokthar Dahari was playing along with his teammates, Malaysian had seen the best of the national football team that had glorified the then Malaysian football. In NST on 7thAugust, Shukor Salleh had his article of the glory days of the national team and he was in the team. There, he wrote about the moment when Malaysia beat the South Koreans in the last round fo
r the Olympic spot. Do remember the Koreans are one of the best in Asia. The score was 1-1 and then Hassan ‘lipas kudung’ Sani got the ball, dribbled pass the Korean defenders and gave the ball to ‘King’ James Wong who slotted in the goal to take Malaysia to the 1980 Olympics. I’ve watched the video at Youtube and Lipas kudung(super fast) was indeed a very perfect tag for Hassan Sani.
These memories had been longing in Malaysian who had watched the glory days of Malaysian football team that was filled with talents and endless love for the country that they presented. Unfortunately, after the 1970’s and the early 80’s era, Malaysia had a great downfall following the retirement of the irreplaceable players such as Mokhtar, Armugam, Santokh Sigh and Soh Chin Aun. All these great players left and sadly, Malaysia had never seen their triumphant days again.
When I was small, my father always told me stories about the greatness of Malaysian football team during the 70’s. He also told me about how every keeper would have their knees shivering during one-on-one with Mokhtar. He also told me that opposing keepers would not make any attempt if Mokhtar shoots because of his powerful kick. TV3 also had shown video of Malaysia beating Arsenal 2-0 at Stadium Merdeka, both scored by the late Mokhtar Dahari. My father also told me that he was a true hero indeed as that time as the players didn’t get much award or money when they won. Seeing the people supporting them was enough for them to give back to the people by wins and carving Malaysia’s name in the history and records.
This is the spirit that all the players should have. They should be proud feeling of playing for the country, wearing the yellow jersey that had once been feared by the other countries. To supporters too, we should continue to give the utmost supports to our national football team. Ironically, when I was watching the video of the recent Malaysia vs Liverpool, there was this one post that caught my attention. It was from an Indonesian guy and he was bemused, asking why there are many people wearing reds than the national supporters’ eventhough we are the champion of South East Asia? I was left there sitting and thinking. Why?
Nevertheless, it’s been amazing to see how our supporters were so passionate and enthusiastic in supporting our boys especially against Singapore. I’ve almost had my tears knowing my country had lost to the much neutralized players of Singapore, where I believe we could win it easily by seeing our level now.
For the first time, I felt the sadness of losing, the pain of almost winning, and the enthusiasm during Malaysia’s game. And I believe, many people had the same feeling too. After the long lost glory been brought back, eventhough we lost, I believe what’s important is that we lost with dignity and pride, and we supporters had full trust on the boys again after so long. What more can I said? Thank you, Raja. Thank you, Harimau Malaya. Being Malaysian, you’ve really made us proud.
p/s: the following post had been recently sent to the NST. I’ll inform u if the article’s out. 🙂