Monday, November 21, 2011

SEA Games: Malaysia 'may seek police escort for final'

JAKARTA: Indonesia topped the Southeast Asian Games medals table on Sunday, as hype around their football final with rivals Malaysia peaked after a report that the visitors may seek a police escort to the match.

Indonesia reached 144 golds on Sunday having amassed 373 medals in total with two full days of competition to go -- pushing them comfortably beyond the target set by the Games' organisers for their first overall win since 1997.

Thailand took a commanding hold on the second spot with 90 golds, 10 first-place finishes clear of Vietnam.

But Sunday's talking point was the hosts' upcoming clash for football gold with Malaysia, after the visitors said they might use armoured Barracuda vehicles to reach the game, which is expected to draw over 90,000 hostile fans.

The Malaysian Star newspaper on Sunday quoted team manager Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin as saying he had urged Indonesian police to consider escorting his under-23 side during the short trip from their hotel to the stadium on Monday.

Malaysian athletes have faced relentless barracking from local crowds, with the under-23 footballers -- who are defending their 2009 title -- taking flak as they beat the hosts 0-1 in the final group game last week.

"We have the experience of the preliminary match last Thursday. I notice our players are resilient and I hope they rise to the occasion tomorrow," he told the paper, adding "we will prove Malaysia are the best in Southeast Asia."

Malaysia, who boast the best defence in the tournament after conceding just two goals, pounced late against doughty Myanmar on Saturday to steal a final spot with a 1-0 win.

Indonesia took their place in Monday night's showpiece with a 2-0 win over Vietnam, scoring twice in the second period through Papuan pair Patrich Wanggai and Titus Bonai.

Bonai, whose late deflected strike secured victory, said the defending champions posed a danger but were there to be beaten.

"The Malaysian team is very strong -- we lost to them the other day. What we need to do is stay on guard and work tight as a team," he said.

"If we do that, I'm confident we can win."

The visitors weathered the cauldron of the 90,000 capacity Gelora Bung Karno stadium to beat the hosts in their last group game, and their coach Ong Kim Swee was confident they can again silence the home fans.

"Disregard their taunts. We must use our remaining fitness in the best possible manner," he was quoted by Malaysian state media as saying.

"I don't want them to be overconfident. I know they are tired and I want them to be aware of their own strengths and performance."

Rachmat Gobel, an executive from Games organisers Inasoc, had said 140 golds would see Indonesia top the medals tally for the first time since they last hosted the Games in 1997.

In Palembang -- which is co-hosting the Games -- organisers were left red-faced Sunday after poor security in the chaotic build-up to the competition allowed thieves to steal hundreds of bicycles.

The bicycles had been reserved for athletes and officials to travel around the sprawling venue, Indonesian state media reported.

The SEA Games, held once every two years, run until November 22 and see 11 nations competing for bragging rights with hundreds of gold medals up for grabs.

The Times of India


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Malaysia is good but indonesia is steal in the top

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