The day I'm proud to be Malaysian

Malaysia 3 - 1 Myanmar
Merdeka Cup Final

The humiliation of being the beating boys at the last Asian Cup was all but forgotten last night as the Malaysian squad beat the odds to become champions of the 39th edition of the Merdeka Cup. The 3-1 conquest of defending champions Myanmar gave the 40,000 fans at Shah Alam Stadium last night and thousands across the country, much to rejoice and add even more cheer to our nation’s 50th independence celebration tomorrow.

The Malaysian team has not won, I repeat, HAVE NOT won anything in the last 14 years and the last time we won the Merdeka Cup was in 1993 by beating South Korea by the same goal line. Last night’s win was also our 7th victory ever since the tournament was introduced in 1957.

The Malaysian goals were provided by (the good looking) Zaquan Adha and (the equally hot) Safee Sali plus an own goal by Aung Myo Thant. Myanmar got their consolation goal from Tun Tun Win.

Missing their captain Shukor Adan through injury, the Malaysian team scored the opening goal through Zaquan Adha on the 12th minute much to the delight of 40 thousand strong Malaysian fans who thronged the Shah Alam stadium last night. On the 56th minute Malaysia doubled their lead when Aung Myo Thant deflected the ball into his own net. The crowd almost brought the roof down when Safiee Sali scored Malaysia’s 3rd goal with style on the hour mark.

The second looked more like a boxing match as tempers flare and the Myanmar team vented their frustration by kicking and punching the Malaysian players instead of actually playing football resulting in the dismissal of one of their players in the final minutes of the game. But the Malaysian team was equally robust to their barbaric challenges and held on with the 3-1 lead until the 95th minute when the referee finally blew the final whistle. Football Association of Malaysia’s president Sultan Ahmad Shah was clearly delighted with the victory as he personally hugs every Malaysian at the medal-giving ceremony.

One thing for sure, Malaysian football is far from dead and buried as proved by our boys last night. And there are still plenty of supporters of our national team as evident yesterday when ten of thousands fans filled the stadium to root for the national team. They’re just frustrated of our lack of success in the international scene and had gone into hiding, waiting for miracles like last night to happen. Even watching in front of the TV at home I could feel the hype and electrifying atmosphere of fans cheering and singing for our team. And the national team didn’t let us down by winning the tournament that could signal the start of better things to come from Malaysian football.

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