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Will Harimau Malaya roar in Bukit Jalil?

Photo: Will Harimau Malaya roar in Bukit Jalil?

By Haresh Deol

Their jubilant faces were plastered all over the front pages of local dailies. The players turned into instant celebrities while the officials were glowing, some even shamelessly taking credit for the team’s success.

Two years on and Malaysians still remember how Harimau Malaya humbled Indonesia at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil with a 3-0 score line before going down 2-1 in the two-legged final at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta.

There was utter silence all around the stands as despite the defeat, Malaysia won the 2010 title with a 4-2 aggregate. National striker Safee Sali was handed the Golden Boot award with five goals under his belt.

Two years on, Malaysians are hoping for that fairy-tale run to happen in this year’s edition of the regional tournament.

National coach Datuk K.Rajagobal and his lads have certainly come under fire from various parties, as even FA of Malaysia president Sultan Ahmad Shah expressing his “concern” after a string of poor results in a series of international friendly matches ahead of the competition.

Malaysia lost 1-0 to Vietnam and went down 2-0 to a second string Thai team. The Malaysian side then managed 1-1 draws against Hong Kong and Bangladesh.

After a short break in Pangkor Island and a motivational talk by renowned speaker Datuk Dr Fadzilah Kamsah, the natioanl team are now preparing their moves against Singapore at the National Stadium in
their first Group B match tomorrow.

Malaysia will then play Loas (Nov 28) followed by Indonesia (Dec 1).

While Malaysia may troop into the field as defending champions, the pressure is on them to win. A top four finish would be possible but anything beyond that will be an added bonus.

Laos may not pose much of a threat but could pull a surprise or two. After all, the tiny football nation shocked Thailand by scoring first only to manage a 2-2 draw in the opening match of the 2010 tournament.

In Group A, the Philippines - or better known as Azkals – are no pushovers. Many seem to forget they made it to the semi finals in the previous edition and were narrowly edged by Indonesia as both the semi
final matches. Indonesia registered 1-0 wins in both the semi finals that were played in Jakarta.

Thailand, despite their poor outing in 2010, are still a force to reckon with and their fans too are hungry for a silverware to occupy a rather dusty trophy cabinet.

Vietnam cannot be overlooked while Myanmar could play spoiler.

Malaysia started on the wrong foot after they where whacked 5-1 in the opening match against Indonesia in 2010.

However, that didn’t stop them from winning the title.

Tomorrow, Harimau Malaya will face the Lions in the classic battle of the Causeway.

Even Harimau Muda coach Ong Kim Swee admitted the first match will always be difficult for both teams to get their rhythm in check.

"The team that settles in quickly with their pace well organised could have the advantage. Playing Singapore is always tough and both teams know each other very well," said Kim Swee.

"With the full support from our crowd, we can make the difference as long as our players remain disciplined throughout the entire match," he added.

Will the Tigers roar in their den? Only time will tell.For the record, this also appeared on Astro Awani's Facebook page.

Their jubilant faces were plastered all over the front pages of local dailies. The players turned into instant celebrities while the officials were glowing, some even shamelessly taking credit for the team's success.


Two years on and Malaysians still remember how Harimau Malaya humbled Indonesia at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil with a 3-0 score line before going down 2-1 in the two-legged final at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta.

There was utter silence all around the stands as despite the defeat, Malaysia won the 2010 title with a 4-2 aggregate. National striker Safee Sali was handed the Golden Boot award with five goals under his belt.

Two years on, Malaysians are hoping for that fairy-tale run to happen in this year’s edition of the regional tournament.

National coach Datuk K.Rajagobal and his lads have certainly come under fire from various parties, as even FA of Malaysia president Sultan Ahmad Shah expressing his “concern” after a string of poor results in a series of international friendly matches ahead of the competition.

Malaysia lost 1-0 to Vietnam and went down 2-0 to a second string Thai team. The Malaysian side then managed 1-1 draws against Hong Kong and Bangladesh.

After a short break in Pangkor Island and a motivational talk by renowned speaker Datuk Dr Fadzilah Kamsah, the natioanl team are now preparing their moves against Singapore at the National Stadium in
their first Group B match tomorrow.

Malaysia will then play Loas (Nov 28) followed by Indonesia (Dec 1).

While Malaysia may troop into the field as defending champions, the pressure is on them to win. A top four finish would be possible but anything beyond that will be an added bonus.

Laos may not pose much of a threat but could pull a surprise or two. After all, the tiny football nation shocked Thailand by scoring first only to manage a 2-2 draw in the opening match of the 2010 tournament.

In Group A, the Philippines - or better known as Azkals – are no pushovers. Many seem to forget they made it to the semi finals in the previous edition and were narrowly edged by Indonesia as both the semi
final matches. Indonesia registered 1-0 wins in both the semi finals that were played in Jakarta.

Thailand, despite their poor outing in 2010, are still a force to reckon with and their fans too are hungry for a silverware to occupy a rather dusty trophy cabinet.

Vietnam cannot be overlooked while Myanmar could play spoiler.

Malaysia started on the wrong foot after they where whacked 5-1 in the opening match against Indonesia in 2010.

However, that didn’t stop them from winning the title.

Tomorrow, Harimau Malaya will face the Lions in the classic battle of the Causeway.

Even Harimau Muda coach Ong Kim Swee admitted the first match will always be difficult for both teams to get their rhythm in check.

"The team that settles in quickly with their pace well organised could have the advantage. Playing Singapore is always tough and both teams know each other very well," said Kim Swee.

"With the full support from our crowd, we can make the difference as long as our players remain disciplined throughout the entire match," he added.

Will the Tigers roar in their den? Only time will tell.

Comments

  1. The moment of truth is not only by winning the cup again. Displaying a very high standard of playing ability should be the main criteria for me.
    When we talk about standard of playing, we want to see the Malaysians displaying superior tactical and technical ability in their game. Group tactical should prevail more then anything else. For instant, how frequent can the Malaysian create moves involving more then two players? and how effective? These are the key issues the entire team should seriously look into besides matching them physically.

    Wall, one-two and through passes would be the key factor to win and score goals, not just attacking and hoping to score and win. They must also display the ability to attack from all angel of play in the attacking third. High level of group and individual trickery to catch opponents off guard and flat footed.
    A very high level of awareness with regards to attacking and defending principals must be addressed by the entire team when discussing tactics and game-plan

    Finally, the players ability to anticipate situations and coming up with the right solutions must be demanded to be seen.

    ReplyDelete

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