Thursday, October 23, 2008


Malaysia Looking for Support

Thursday October 23, 2008
Football: Sathia wants fans to show up in full force
PETALING JAYA: Defending champions Malaysia have everything going for them ahead of their Merdeka Tournament semi-final clash against Myanmar at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil tonight.
They have the best men, an impressive strike force with the the highest number of goals (14) and a strong backline that has not conceded a goal thus far in the tournament.
The only missing factor for the home side is the lack of support from their home fans in matches.
And coach B. Sathianathan hoped that the fans show up in force for their semi-final match against Myanmar.
“I want to hear it from the Malaysian fans,” said Sathianathan at the pre-match conference at the Wisma FAM in Kelana Jaya yesterday.
“It was sad when the national team played against Chelsea recently. There were more fans supporting the English club than the home team.”
A total of less than 5,000 spectators turned up to watch Malaysia in action in three matches in the Merdeka Tournament ” against Nepal (4-0), Sierra Leone (4-0) and Afghanistan (6-0).
Myanmar coach Marcos Falopa is expecting a strong turnout from the Myanmar population based in the Klang Valley. About 2,000 Myanmar fans turned up to watch their team beat Mozambique 3-2 in their last group match on Monday.
“We also had a meet-the-fan session at the Sogo Shopping Complex on Tuesday and the response was very good,” said Falopa.
Myanmar unlike Malaysia will sorely miss the services of their ace striker Yan Paing, who is out on suspension. However, skipper Soe Myat Min, who has played for more than a decade with the national team is confident they would be able to match the Malaysians.
“We have worked hard and with the support of our fans, there is a good chance we can make the final again,” said Myat Min.
Malaysia defeated Myanmar 3-1 in the final last year.
The other semi-final match is between Sierra Leone and Vietnam.
The African side have only 12 outfield players and three goalkeepers and most of them are Under-20 players. To make matters worse, stopper Issa Kamara is out on suspension.
Coach Manuel R. Bliches (who used to coach in Indonesia) from Argentina said that he had no choice but to put one of his reserve goalkeepers on standby to play in an outfield position.
“We are still a handicapped side. But let’s see how the players cope with the situation ... and mind you, our opponents, Vietnam, play well as a unit,” he said.

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