The first live football match I watched was the Manchester United game vs Malaysia in 2001. When I was younger my dad never let me follow my cousins to watch the Selangor games even though I was a huge fan of the Red Giants.
I was a Man U fan but no matter what I will always be a Malaysian fan so I was excited to watch the game. That day we lost 6-0 to Man United. It’s one thing to lose but another thing to be trashed. What hurt most was the moment the Malaysian team walked into the pitch you knew they had come prepared to lose and were there with not even a glint of hope.
That day I told myself I’m never gonna watch them plan against any EPL team coz I don’t think I could watch them looking so dejected.
I watched Malaysia play again last December. For months now we had been reading and hearing about their progress. The tigers were back in shape and in the best form they had ever been since my childhood. Harimau Malaya charged against an equally capable team of Indonesians as they scored 3-0 to the ecstatic cheers of the nation. More than the win, it was their walk of confidence that blew me away. This team didn’t know they were going to win but to hell with anyone who told them they couldn’t. You knew they were going to give their best.
Last Thursday I was back at the Stadium to watch them play the second leg of the Asian qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup against Singapore. They stadium was a blaze in hitam kuning as the crowd chanted Malaysia! Malaysia! They had lost 5-3 to Singapore.
Our Tigers walked in with confidence and determination. They were there to do their best.
Finally after years of hoping, we have a team which gives its all for the game and the country. For once we have a coach who is a leader and not a boss.
A leader believes in his players and backs them up no matter what. A leader walks in and tells us no matter what the odds are that we will win. A leader says they gave their best but they can improve and they will. A boss blames them the moment they fall, a boss says I think we can draw, a boss says it was his fault.
Although we drew yesterday after that amazing goal that got us screaming to our feets, we thank you for giving your best. We need you to believe in yourself and to continue walking to that pitch with your heads held high and your spirits soaring. The whole nation is ready to back you up, the whole nation is ready to cheer you on. Just give us your best and never stop trying. You made people who don’t watch football cheer and watch you just because they believed in you.
The stadium filled with fans cheered our Tigers even after we knew we had lost. So let’s take our negative mentality and stop playing the blame game. Focus on believing in the team and its leaders. We all make mistakes, we all fall but we can rise above if only we believe and give our all.
My dear Harimau’s – I am so proud of you. Keep on reaching and one day we will get there.
Hitam Kuning! Hitam Kuning! Hitam Kuning! Go Tigers! Go Tigers!
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