By Wilfred Pilo
KUCHING, Sept 6: The unsporting and aggressive acts of Indonesian football fans following Malaysia’s 3-2 comeback win in the 2022 World Cup qualifier at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta was not acceptable.
Appalled at the incident, Tourism, Arts, Culture,Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah condemned such behaviour towards Malaysian football fans, players and officials, which he described as ‘barbaric’
“We are civilised people living in a civilised society. Only uncivilised people acted in such manner.
“What some of the Indonesian football fans did was unspeakable and is not in the true spirit of any sports and games,” he told reporters during a press conference on the 10th Asian Bird Fair 2019, here, today.
As a football fan and minister-in-charge of sports in Sarawak, Abdul Karim described the victory as sweet.
The Malaysian football team must be congratulated for their heroic efforts amid the incident, he said.
Abdul Karim admitted the win did not come easy for the Malaysian team against its fierce footballing rival.
“From the video that we saw, it was very stressful to see the Malaysian football fans, players and officials being taunted and harassed in and out of the stadium.
“We saw many objects thrown to Malaysian supporters,we saw Malaysian footballers being escorted out of the football stadium heavily guarded using armoured vehicles. Its like going to a war zone,” he said.
Abdul Karim expressed hope that such incident would not spread in Malaysian soil.
“The fighting spirit of the Malaysian football team throughout the game has been very strong to the final whistle, The winning goal happened in the dying second of injury time.
“The frenzy created in the dying second of the winning moment by the Malaysian players and the frustration shown on the faces of the Indonesian players summed the match,” he opined.
He also hoped that Sarawak football players can emulate such fighting spirit demonstrated by the Malaysian team in Jakarta.
Both sides were playing their opening match in the second round of the 2022 World Cup and 2023 Asian Cup qualifiers when violence broke out in the second half.
An Indonesian fan ran across the pitch and threw an object towards the section where Malaysian fans were seated in the 65th minute, when Malaysia scored an equaliser to make it 2-2.
South Korean referee Ko Hyungjin had to stop the match for about 10 minutes to allow security control.
Malaysia’s winner through Mohamadou Sumareh in the 96th minute kicked off another wave of trouble, as Malaysian fans in the stands were targeted by locals in the stadium. — DayakDaily