Tuesday, November 22, 2011

No icing on RI cake in Games triumph

Despite its overall champion title, Indonesia let slip the gold medal it has wanted the most for two decades, losing to Malaysia in a dramatic soccer final.

As Malaysia’s captain Bakhtiar Baddrol’s last penalty shot slipped into the net through the hands of Indonesia goalie Kurnia Meiga, the host’s hopes for its first soccer gold medal in 20 years were dashed despite thunderous support from tens of thousands of supporters at Bung Karno Stadium, Central Jakarta, on Monday.

Indonesia’s Young Garuda eventually bowed out 1-1 (3-4) in a penalty shootout against the Harimau Malaya. “We started very well, actually, but after the goal, it turned out to be tougher. Our players’ fitness and speed were decreasing. [Patrich] Wanggai was injured but he kept on fighting,” Rahmad said.

“We were well prepared technically and mentally but Malaysia’s goalie was ready for the penalty shootout, while I had to force some players to take part in the shootout. I had to tell them that whatever the result, I would be the one responsible.”

“Only three players said they were ready for the penalty shootout while others needed to be encouraged. I express my apology to Indonesian fans for my failure to meet their highest expectations,” Rahmad said.

The host’s Titus Bonai, Egi Melgiansyah and Abdul Rahman all scored in the shootout but Gunawan Dwi Cahyo, who scored Indonesia’s sole goal in the fifth minute, and Ferdinand Sinaga failed to net the ball.

Malaysia’s only penalty failure was from Saarani Ahmad Fakri, while all four other spot kickers, Jasuli Mahali, Othman Mohamad Fandi, Mohd Shas Mohamad Fadhli and Baddrol, managed to do their jobs.

It was a historic match for the home team as the last time it reached the final was before another home crowd in 1997. Indonesia took the silver then after Thailand also won the match in a penalty shootout.

Monday’s match was emotional considering the souring relationship between the two countries and recent rows on issues including borders, migrant workers and claims over national heritage.

Indonesia and Malaysia have faced off 13 times in SEA Games history, with six victories for each country and a 0-0 tie during a qualifying match in the 1979 Games.

Monday’s match was marred by reports that two supporters died in chaotic scenes in the lines outside the stadium. They were found dead at around 8 p.m., allegedly trampled by a mob fighting to get into the stadium through a broken gate. The victims’ were not identified.

Abdul Madjid from the SEA Games medical team said the two bodies had been taken to the Cipto Mangunkusumo General Hospital.

On the eve of the closing ceremony, Indonesia ensured its position as the overall champion, bagging 170 gold medals, followed by Thailand (105 golds) and Vietnam (96 golds).

“With God’s will, Indonesia will be the overall champion. We are heading there,” Indonesian Olympics Council (KOI) chairwoman Rita Subowo said in Palembang, South Sumatra.

She said Indonesia would claim the title of champion after it secured its 136th gold medal, about 25 percent of the 545 golds up for grabs.

Rita said she acknowledged the victory as the country’s resurgence in sports. “We will use this momentum to ensure solid development of our athletes for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.”


No comments:

Post a Comment