Huge crowds fill stadium for Malaysian cup finals

Two huge crowds in as many weeks is proof that Malaysian football is alive and rebounding. The FA Cup final between Selangor and Perak last Saturday week ago saw Shah Alam Stadium packed with 72,000 fans paying RM 1.2 million in gate collection and last night a capacity crowd of 95,000 saw Selangor win the Malaysia Cup final 3-0 over Perlis. Vendors of Cup final paraphernalia did a roaring trade at the venue with even T-shirts for the 2006 World Cup Finals in Germany hot items at RM 28 apiece.

Unlike the Indonesian League Grand Final last week in Jakarta where nearly half the spectators got into their national stadium without paying then engaged in a one-hour riot after the home team was beaten, the crowd at Malaysia's two big games were well behaved. Suprisingly for some, Indonesian guest workers made up a big section of Selangor's fan base, having been lured by the stellar perfomances of the club's two Indonesian players, Bambang Pamungkas and Elie Aiboy. Bambang, in fact, took the 'Red Giants" to victory with a hat-trick of goals in the 17th, 51st and 86th minutes and winger Elie combined well for the first two goals.

Update: Last season, Selangor drew less than 50,000 fans. This season more than 500,000 attended -- about one third of the total spectators at all M-League matches -- and Indonesians make up more than 60% of the Red Giant fans. FA of Selangor treasurer S. Sivasundaram said “there is no doubt that the Indonesian fans made the big difference this year. We have had an average of 15,000 fans coming for our home matches and at least 10,000 are Indonesians, who reside in the Klang Valley.” Selangor began this season with an RM 5 million sponsorship and has earned an additional RM 3.2 million from gate receipts. (3 Oct, The Star).

The Malaysian 2005 Honour Role: Malaysia Cup (Selangor) FA Cup (Selangor), Super League (Perlis), Premier League (Selangor) Charity Shield (Perak), FAM Cup (Kelantan), Presidents Cup (Kelantan), Youth Cup (Terengganu), Fair Play (PKNS).

Super League 2006 contestants: Perlis, Pahang, Perak, Malacca Telekom, Petaling Jaya Municipal Council, Penang, Selangor (promoted), Negri Sembilan (promoted). Premier League 2006 contestants: Sabah, Public Bank, Kedah, Johor, Terengganu, Kuala Lumpur, Sarawak, Brunei, Johor Fc, Perak Jenderata, Mk Land, Penang Ntfa, Kelantan Tnb, Selangor Pkns, Kelantan (promoted), Kuantan Port-Shahzan Muda (promoted).

See also: Perlis or Selangor to make Malaysian history (29 Sept)