Support for athletes, can spur them to perform well in competitions for the coveted gold medal.
THE national football team have always enjoyed tremendous support from their fans.
These fans are often dubbed the “12th player”.
So, it’s been kind of strange to see very few Malaysian supporters at the Bishan Stadium for the national Under-23 team’s matches in the SEA Games in Singapore.
The Malaysian football fans are known to be raucous at the stadium and the recent emergence of the “Ultras” culture has seen the noise level at stadiums in Malaysia going up by a few decibels, no thanks to their almost non-stop singing and cheering.
The fans’ passion for Malaysian football was revived during the 2010 AFF Suzuki Cup success and the growing popularity of the M-League has seen a rise in the number of fans at stadiums nationwide.
But then, it’s not only at the Bishan Stadium that support for our national team has been minimal. It was the same at the netball court as well, especially when the national team held favourites and host Singapore to a 35-35 draw last Tuesday.
Perhaps, this may have something to do with the crackdown by the Singapore government on unruly football fans during the AFF Suzuki Cup last year and the weakening ringgit.
That aside, there have been a couple of inspiring performances by our athletes over the last few days. None more so than the way our netball players fought back to hold Singapore to a draw in front of their capacity crowd at the OCBC Arena Hall.
The two teams should meet again in the final tomorrow – but at least the Malaysian women will have the psychological advantage.
The national under-23 football team’s two remaining matches – against Brunei (June 8) and Laos (June 11) – may not matter anymore since they are virtually out of the competition.
But the national netball team can do with all the support they can get when they reach the final.
With more Malaysian athletes arriving in Singapore by then, the Malaysian contingent should mobilise their athletes and officials to back our ladies to the hilt in the final.
And since it’s a Sunday, how about those living in Johor taking a trip down to Singapore to cheer our girls on?
They deserve it. Not so sure about about the football team, though.