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A nice welcome and a view from Malaysia

Introduction by Walter Broeckx

Arsenal traveling to Malysia is something that doesn’t happen every year. Certainly not the last years as we mostly went to the hills of Austria to hear the sound of music. And then we played a few local teams there which we didn’t know.

But now we have gone on the plane to Asia and will see another warming up to the season. And apparently it is warm over there.  But one thing stays the same: the opponents are unknown.  But we at Untold are very lucky with our readership that is spread around the world.  And our local correspondent (if I may call him like that and in this case I think we can) told us a few things that we over here in Europe don’t know about football in Malaysia.

For me the most exciting thing about the games coming up in the Asia tour is the fact that we finally will be able to see our boys back where they belong and I don’t mean in the transfer headlines of the rubbish media but on the green green football pitch. That is if the colour of grass in Malaysia is also green.

Looking forward to the young ones that will get their chance, looking forward to those returning from injury, looking forward to some new faces like Ryo and Jenkinson. Oh please bring it on and now some things I didn’t know about football in Malaysia and thanks to Brickfield Gunners we can say a few things in the pub or at work that will make us look as if we know a bit of the world. So thank you for this and now let us just pass the word to our regular reader Brickfield Gunners

By Brickfield Gunners

Selamat datang ke Malaysia , Arsenal .  Welcome to Malaysia , Arsenal .

As you touch down in Kuala Lumpur ( KL) ,my hometown , you would  no doubt be impressed by our beautiful airport and and the very impressive KL skyline , especially the Petronas Twin Towers, which used to be the tallest buildings in the world  but now have been surpassed.

So too has our football – in the seventies we were at par with South Korea , Japan and the Middle East teams but have gradually overtaken us and we are now ranked 144 in Fifa ‘s latest rankings(29/06/2011).

Here is a brief  history of Malaysian Football :-

1962 -Asian Games bronze medallist ( behind India & S.Korea )

1972 – qualified for Munich Olympics ( after beating Japan & S.Korea ), where we lost to W.Germany 3-0 after a goalless 1st half ; beat USA and lost to Morocco .

1974- Asian Games bronze medallist in Tehran ,Iran ( behind Iran & Israel { yes ,kids ,Israel was one grouped under Asia and did play in Iran}, where in the 8-3 loss to Israel

Syed Ahmad scored a superb goal by beating 5 players and  imho , worthy of a  goal-of the season . If a clip exists ,I would be grateful if someone with the know-how uploads it.)

1980 – qualified for the Moscow Olympics after beating  S.Korea , but did not participate due to the USA led boycott.

1991-  Was for me the lowest point in Malaysian football when the team lost to the Philippines 1-0 in Manila at the South -East Asian Games .The Filipinos are not famous for their football and this result was a big shock to us as it was to England when they lost to USA  back in the sixties.They were suspicions of match fixing which culminated in

1994 ,when a bribery scandal of massive proportion erupted and hundreds of players were called for investigation and a large number were banned for life  and the beautiful game was no more .I ‘ve not followed the local game since and the game I watched must be more than 20 years ago.

My team Selangor , dominated for long till horror of horrors -they were relegated due to mismanagement and political interference . Among those who played for us were Tony Cottee , Chris Kiwomya  and Niall Quinn (who played 1 game ).
David Rocastle played for the  Sabah in memory serves me.  Kevin Keegan was a guest player for the Malaysian Tigers in the late 80s or early 90s.

The game of late has seen a resurgence and is in a upward popularity trend after the team beat neighbours  Indonesia in a regional tournament  but its a long road back.

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67 comments to A nice welcome and a view from Malaysia

  • Brickfields Gunners

    In my teens in the 70s ,I was hopefull that a countryman of mine would make the grade play in one of the big leagues in Europe .It is a sad indictment that while Koreans ,Japanese and Middle Eastern players now ply their trade in europe we are still in the wilderness .
    A few went on to play in the Hong Kong League in the seventies while the most famous local player to try his luck abroad was Titus James Palani who still is somewhere in France .He has pride of place as he too is from Brickfields – the Little India of KL.

  • Anne

    @Brickfield Gunners:

    I really enjoyed reading this. One of the most interesting things about being on Untold, for me, is discovering that people I’ve been talking to as if they could be my next door neighbors actually live on the other side of the world.

    And occasionally (as in the case of bob), discovering that someone I assumed lived on the other side of the world actually is from the same country as I am (even if he is a yankee 🙂 ).

    And interesting that you mention Team USA in the same sentence as match fixing… I happen to have a lot of opinions of my own on that particular subject… But anyway, I really appreciate that you were able to provide us with these insights, and I hope that you continue to do so in the future.

  • WalterBroeckx

    I must admit Brickfield, that your country is a totally unknown part of the world for me.

    And bribery scandal, mismanagement…. all topics on Untold. You must have a deja vu feeling at times…

  • Anne

    @Brickfields Gunners:

    Why do you think it is that players from Malaysia don’t make it in Europe? Is it a talent issue, or just that the big European clubs aren’t scouting there yet? If they’re not scouting, my initial impulse would be to say enjoy it while you can 🙂 Am I wrong about that?

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @Anne – We used to have a robust league in the seventies and were very competative with a multiracial mix but later when we turned profesional,there were changes in the administration (as was in politics)and there was bias and many just quit rather than go through motions.
    When Arsenal visited in 1975 ,we hand a burly centrefoward nicnamed SuperMokh (Mokhtar Dahari ),who scored 2 goals against in Kl (Arsenal were well beaten 2-0)who imho could have made it to a least the old 2nd Division.He scored against England B a couple of years later .
    Many were just happy to ply their trade locally and did not have the ambition to move up a level.

  • safwan

    hi,i am from malaysia too…..

    for me the reason why malaysian player can penetrate europe just because we dont have self believe in our game,we have talents without a doubt.. we always think that europe is far greater than south east asia,the gap is to big..but the truth is we can match europe if we have self believe… and the lack of scouting from european club didnt help either….

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Even in the seventies there was a lot of betting going on and there were many suspcious scorelines but nonetheless the top team won.
    Many players would be called in for questioning after games but nothing came out of it .There was also an instance after a tournment in the Middle East where things did not go well,when the entire team was cooped up in a hotel for questioning after their return home.Result – you guessed it -zilch!
    There is a former player called Lim whom I last heard is a coach in Germany -with Bayern, I think.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @ walter am sending you an e-mail that shows the the people have said enough and want to clean up the country .Use it you can here .While another shows the oppulence of the few .

  • walter

    Thanks Brickfields for the mails.
    Just seen pictures of the open training session in the stadium. amazing how many people came to see them training. Will Arsenal be playing a home game today? 😉

  • Anne

    @brickfields:

    It almost breaks my heart to hear that you had talented players quitting the game because the politics became so bad…I really don’t know what to say about that honestly,it’s just a real shame.

  • Anne

    @safwan:

    So, are you saying that part of the problem is that no one is scouting Malaysia?

  • Anne

    It’s funny, I was just watching the news reports of Arsenal in Malaysia. They actually showed some of the videos on Fox Soccer Channel here, and it looks like there was a great turnout. The downside of it all is that, based on the few clips that I saw, it greatly heightened my sense of football withdrawal. Just based on those few clips of the beautiful game, I’m wiping the tears out of my eyes… 🙂

    Which Malaysian clubs is Arsenal playing against?

  • safwan

    @anne

    exactly….but not no one,but few…..
    i still remember when one of malaysia company sponsored norwich city,they came to scout malaysian player but it just because of the politics and agreement,they not taking malaysian players seriously….i only hope arsenal have different attitude over malaysia,dont take us lightly and maybe arsene can discover new gem in malaysia football, give the lad a trial and maybe something happen…really hope so….

  • Shard

    This was a great read Brickfields. Nice to know more anout malaysian football. The reference to India at the 62 Asian games made me sad though. Along with the team in the 1956 and 60 Olympics, those were probably the golden days of Indian football. Hopefully, both our countries can start the long climb back up the football ladder.

  • safwan

    @anne…
    arsenal will be playing malaysia eleven….that means our national teams….

  • Shard

    @Anne

    It’s a one off game, against a Malaysian XI. The coach apparently is the national team coach (and a ManU fan) but I don’t know if the players are from the regular Malaysian team. If I were a player though, I wouldn’t miss a match against Arsenal for the world. Just about an hour to go for the match. Football (the real stuff) is back. Yaayyy.

  • Shard

    looks like safwan beat me to it 🙂

    So safwan.. Who will you be supporting?

  • safwan

    one more thing u all must know….

    arsenal is the 4th largest fanbase in malaysia, behind man united,liverpool and chelsea….that is a problem…

  • safwan

    my heart and my soul is for the gunners….
    dont get me wrong,i love my national team,they really made me proud..but to watch and support arsenal is one a lifetime experience,so arsenal is my answer….

  • Shard

    @safwan

    I know what you mean. I’ve been trying to imagine who I would support if Arsenal played against the Indian team. I think I would root for India because I would expect Arsenal to win anyway, and with ease at that 🙂 But If it were a close competition, I really don’t know. I love Arsenal, perhaps more than anything, but I really really want Indian football to progress. Tough one that, and I don’t envy you your choice at all 🙂

  • Shard

    Oh but I’d definitely show Arsenal that I love them and make the team feel welcome if I were at the stadium for that match. So good call I suppose.

  • safwan

    @shard

    hahaha….
    im off to the game….so proud to say that….
    Arsenal,here i come!!!

  • Shard

    have fun safwan.. I think I’m a little jealous 🙂

  • walter

    Just imagine for how many Gooners in Malaysia it is a day they will remember for a long time: the first time for many of them they will be able to go to the stadium and see the Arsenal play!

    Enjoy the day my friends from Malaysia!

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    Obviously the heat and the humidity have gone to Wilshere’s head but well done Jack!
    “Loyalty is a big part of football and it shows if you are a real man or not,” the midfielder said, from his position on the stage. “There have been a few players who have shown Arsenal great loyalty and, hopefully, we will get a few more like that. Then we will see if we can get a trophy or not.”

  • ARSENAL TEAM:
    Szczesny,
    Gibbs, Jenkinson, Koscielny, Vermaelen,
    Wilshere, Song, Ramsey,
    Miyaichi, Walcott, Chamakh

  • RedGooner

    Anne,I think you are in the states you mentioned before you can watch all the pre season matches here if you need place to view it.
    http://watchlivefootystream.com

  • I was hoping to bring some news about this game, but my feed is timing out all the time – just don’t seem to be able to get the match at all on the all new Arsenal.com service.

  • RedGooner

    1-0 Through Ramsey from the spot, Gibbs is playing well

  • Tony Attwood

    Up and running at last. A lot of technical probs by the look

  • Tony Attwood

    Brilliant second goal from Theo.

  • walter

    The same over here Tony. First got all kind of error messages then it said I hadn’t enough bandwidth so I had to find another stream. Which I did and then we were 1-0 up. But at half time I tried again and it looks alright now. fingers crossed as the quality of my stream was not that good.

    But I did have the impression the pitch was not like the emirates pitch and I know a few things about its quality since a few weeks. 🙂

  • zuer

    @ safwan.. u’re right, arsenal has the fourth largest fanbase in Malaysia and is growing.. nice timing doing the tour here.. and Liverpool actually has the laragest fan here.. and as maniac as their counterpart in England.. Hell, we don’t even have the live coverage of Arsenal vs malaysia here.. instead, there’s liverpool vs guang dong live.. what the heck..

    @ brickfields .. sorry mate, your article doesn’t really portray the CURRENT Malaysian team.. even if u don’t follow our country team anymore, at least do some research or don’t bother writing..

    oh, your comment @9.45 what with the political talk.. Do u follow Bersih rally recently.. these bunch doesn’t reflect the silent majority of the country.. only a bunch of attention-seeking-power-hungry-people making trouble..

    Walcott’s goal was really sweet.. and from what i see Jenkinson is cool to.. a real nice addition to the squad imho..

  • I am trying to pretend that I am working (ie I am sitting at my desk at work) while sneaking a few looks at the screen. Can someone provide a run down of the subs?

  • zuer

    Tony, everyone is playing tonight..
    9 changes at the start of 2nd half except for jenkinson and myaichi.. and the final 30 mins we have nasri, sagna, rvp n arshavin.. so that’s it… everyone got to play.. and vela scores the 3rd goal..

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Sorry guys was at a an Antient and Honourable Fraternity meeting
    which I could not miss.Anyone “on the square “will understand.
    @Shard – To tell you the truth I did a double take when I saw
    India as the 62′ winners .Having studied there in the late seventies and early eighties I had experience playing at college and University level.Other than the Kolkata League and in Kerala , the other states were poor.My predessors and us
    brought some joy to the small town of Manipal where there was no tv coverage.When we left the locals were beating us quite regularly.
    @Zuer- you are right ,I don’t know anything about the current team and truly don’t care .From your comments about the silent majority, I know that we will never agree as we are one the different side of the divide.But let the love for Arsenal be a common thread.

  • zuer

    oops rosicky got the 4th goal in the e.t. .. 4-0.. aah i was hoping malaysia could at least get a goals… damn.. my pc is playing trick with me..

    @brickfields i’m cool, no hard feeling.. oh n u hurt me there when u say “truly don’t care”..

    hope the malaysian team do better again liverpool.. HATE lIVERPOOL.. n most of my family r liverpool supporters.. don’t know what good about them..

    4 nil but Arsenal must keep improving.. like what i see though especially the likes of jenkinson anf myaichi.. but, this is only malaysian team guys..

    just wondering if wenger would field the same starting line up in a prem league game..

  • Brickfields Gunners

    AS an addenum , I would like to impress upoin the readers of this blog that Malaysian fans are quite know knowlegeable as far as English football is concern .I have friends whoose recollections go back 40-50 years and we can have any discussion with any takers without Googling or refering to anything printed .
    This due to the thirst and interest in all things football and the fact that for many of us English came easy and was the principal language .We read whatever we could get our hands and made our own opinions and did not rely on “pundits’.Now everyone is an expert after reading the blogs and listening to the idiot box. I’m not a member of any Arsenal fan club nor to I go to pubs .I’d rather watch in the comfort of my own home .

  • The substitutes. What on earth can we make of all this?

    Vito Mannone (45)

    Bacary Sagna (66)

    Sebastien Squillaci (45)

    Johan Djourou (45)

    Armand Traore (45)

    Samir Nasri (66)

    Tomas Rosicky (45)

    Denilson (45)(66)

    Emmanuel Frimpong (45)

    Robin van Persie (66)

    Carlos Vela (45)

    Arshavin (66)

  • jayj

    2009 was my last time in malaysia, wearing my arsenal t-shirts,tops got me lots of attention to the point of being stopped in the Suria centre. Even at sunway lagoon a girl asked me where I got my t-shirt from. Coming back was the best Arsenal that yr kicked start the campaign against everton 0-5 to us.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @ Zuer – We ‘re cool – its just that I could not bear to watch the crap being dished out .Mind you it took a long time before I said enough is enough and I really didn’t need the aggravation.When I was still in KL I went to many Merdeka cup games , SEA games and all the important Selangor games.We were good then – ask your elders about those teams and if your are able to get clips from the past do upload it .
    In our days we would stop to watch any game being played and we were a mixed bunch – all races , all ages -just football crazies.There is a renewed intrest and I hope to see the day when we beat the big boys.The Suzuki cup did lift the nation ,and me too but we have fallen way down.Hope your generation get to experience what we did then.Cheers dek !

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Tony ,relax, this is an holiday in the sun ( heat and humidity )and the trot out would have the guys losing some weight in the sauna like atmosphere and be good for the new season.AW may just be trying to get the Carling cup team right!
    They can relax tomorrow by going out to town and do some shopping in Chinatown or Petaling Street where those “Rolexes ” are pretty cheap but do not insult the locals by not bargaining.
    Try the Indian food in Brickfields or just go into any food court and be blown away by the choices .Did I mention tht Malaysians love their food ?And their football.

  • zuer

    well, it seems like there will be no more new signings aside from the four we already acquire.. almunia seem certain to leave but i hope bendtner stay though chances are high that he will leave.. nasri and cesc to stay albeit all the rumours… sagna now have a proper deputy.. gibbs taking over from clichy with traore as deputy.. frimpong to have a more games covering for song.. ramsey and wilshere is delightful.. ah, it seems wenger got the squad figured out..

    @brickfields i guess i should call u pak cik then :D.. the current crop of players does give us some hope.. though, u do expect them to get a beating from arsenal.. let take things one at a time and slowly build on that.. though it may take hundred years more.. 😀

  • RedGooner

    My link crashed how did Myicahi play over all?

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @ Zuer -I ‘ m as old as this Country so pak cik is fine .As I,ve mentioned there is an upsurge in support for the team with
    large crowds for some recent games so this should bode well for the future .Its up to thoose in charge to get them moving in the right direction and not to fall back to their former ways .
    Whenever there is a outcry there will be superfical changes – a rebranding and /or a facelift – we have seen name changers from premier league to super league but same wine in new bottles .
    I would love to see professional management take over the running of the sport and relegate the politicians to the stands,while royalty be made patrons and mere figureheads .

  • Anne

    @Shard and Safwan:

    I’m definitely jealous! They’re not even showing it on TV here. I guess I can go back and watch the replay on Arsenal TV though. It sounds like it was a great game. Maybe Arsenal will come here next summer and play a friendly against Team USA. No question who I would be pulling for there…:) (Arsenal, just to be clear 🙂 )

  • Anne

    @Redgooner:

    Thanks for that link. I didn’t get it in time, but I’ll remember that for the future. Thanks again.

  • Anne

    @Woolwich Peripatetic:

    I don’t belive that Jack actually said that. Too many talking points in the mix…Always a warning sign of fabrication. You can convince me otherwise if you say you’ve seen it on video, but otherwise, nothing doing 🙂

  • Anne

    @Brickfields:

    Reading into your post above, are you saying that the Malaysian royals are running your football league?

  • Shard

    @Anne

    Wilshere did say it. I think it was more a dig at Nasri than Cesc. Wilshere clarified on his twitter account that he said Cesc had shown loyalty last year and is a role model to him, and that he hopes other players will show loyalty too.

  • Shard

    @Brickfields

    Were you at Manipal University? I don’t know if it even existed then of course, but Manipal has quite a big university now. Yes, Kolkata, kerala, and Goa are perhaps the only places football is played at a decent level. Though we do have a club based in Shillong (North East of the country that now plays in the I-League. Sadly the rest of the country lags behind. The entire North has no representation in the top tier of Indian football, and 2 former champion clubs in JCT and Mahindra Utd have disbanded because their losses were too big and the fans were staying away. Sorry, i just realised you didn’t really ask for this. It just makes me sad, especially contrasting it with the achievements of the 50s and 60s. At least India played in the Asia Cup again this year.

  • Gooner Gal

    @ Brickfields, I too like Anne had no idea you were from Malaysia, I actually thought you were from the East of London! Anyway I am loving the way the fans are showing the players love and they seem to be feeding off that positive energy.

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    @Anne
    I have no reason to doubt ths veracity but it has been spun in other media. Seems to me to be a genuine sly dig at Nasri. I don’t know if the Arsenal identity is imprinted enough on the youngsters to survive the loss of world class players like Cesc and Nasri but there is hope. God knows what would happen if we started fielding some abomination of a hybrid of Barcelona and “the Crazy Gang” but it would be fun to watch!

  • Jas777

    From my days of living in Asia, Man U and Liverpool were 1st and 2nd, then daylight, then Arsenal/Chelsea. The job for Arsenal is to close the gap.

    I also think that the easy access of coverage of the EPL, La Liga etc has actually done more harm than good in the playing side as most would rather watch that then local leagues or even play. And by play I mean serious not the pick up style games.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @Anne – We have a Sultan in almost every state who take turns being King( called the Agung)every 5 years I think.The Sultan of one the states was a keen sportsman and took active part in football and was voted President of the FA of Malaysia and I believe a high post in the Asian Football Confedration .He loved
    the sport as does his son who is in charge now .It is the hangers-on and ass-lickers who cause the damage ,many being politicians.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @Shard – I was in Kasturba Medical College ,Manipal but then it was under Mysore University.I ‘ve not been back since but this weekend the Manipal Alumni are meeting up in KL for a big do and many visitors from abroad will be comming.
    I used to follow the Kolkata League and did have a spot for Mohamdean Sporting – why I really don’t know. It was the same with Hamilton Acc. in the Scottish League and Crewe Alexandria in the English lower leagues.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @ Gooner Gal- Thanks I think , I’ll take that as a compliment !We do love our respective EPL clubs and most are well versed in their history and traditions .Walk into any pub or eatery and I bet you that there is some discussion/Arguement about EPL football going on .From the coverage I ‘ve seen , there was a healthy following /representation by the local fans.They just lapped it up .Just hope that we get to see the recorded game real soon – the goal highlights were mouthwatering.
    Cheers!

  • prick

    I was there yesterday too Brickfields 🙂

    I have forever known that you are from here since I’m working in Brickfields.

    Yesterday’s match was awesome. I think our Malaysia XI could bring the game to arsenal in the 1st half. I think Kuna was actually giving Jenkinson a hard time! I think he’s just as fast as Theo in terms of pace. Overall Kuna, Chanturu and Norshahrul made me proud 🙂

    I stood at the gate from 3PM (local time), and had to wait for 3 hours before the gate opens, and another 3 hours before the kick off. It was well worth it.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @Jas777- From the seventies onward ,with the rapid urbanisation
    all over Asia and elsewhere, playing fields /spaces became scarce and with the drug menace and other bad habits ,the youth
    lost interest and with bias selection and reduced oppertunities
    an entire generation lost its way.
    As the games are shown after 8pm here ,live football did not really deter thoose who were keen .In Malaysia we started cable tv in 1997 and there has been a renewed intrest in the game .When before we had to be content with 1 hour of highlights ,now we get 2 -4 games every sat/sun .

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @Prick -I would have loved to have been there but work , health and other comitments prevented .Glad to see you enjoyed the game .Am now in Perak in the town of heavenly peace and the most rainfall .
    Still hoping the game would be shown on tv.

  • Anne

    @Shard:

    Thanks for the clarification about Wilshere’s comments. Your take on it makes sense, I think.

  • Anne

    @Woolwich Peripatetic:

    LOL. It would be fun to watch… 🙂

  • Anne

    @Brickfields:

    Wow. So you have politicians who are football fans, and they’re in a position to just take control of the league as they see fit? If that’s how I undertand you? Just…wow.

    I’m personally guessing that anyone who has had anything to say on this thread so far would, on some level, love to take control of the EPL and adjust it to their specifications 🙂 But what an unmitigated disaster that would be if we all had the power to do it… 🙂

  • Malaysian Gooner

    I was there. It was a state of trance! WE LOVE YOU ARSENAL, WE DO.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @Anne – They are voted in as in any association but here there is cronyism where the spoils are shared .Its not unlike FIFA where friends of Blatter are well looked after.IT has to take all the states to agree to any change but if they are all controled by the same party then -let the feasting begin.
    What was once a well oiled machine was taken apart and became rotten to the core .But in fairness there has been an improvement and we may still get back on tract.
    Malaysia was once one of the robust “Asian Tiger “economies but have been overtaken by S.Korea ,Taiwan ,Singapore ,China , India and probably Indonesia and Thailand.

  • Anne

    @Brickfields:

    This is all very interesting to me. Before you wrote this, I had never really spared a thought for Malaysian football. But now I’m pulling for you guys to get things back on track. Good luck.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @ANNE – Thanks .Ours is a very beautiful country which for the last 20 odd years, the public(especialyl the students) have been dumbed down and made paranoid and introvert .
    On the 9th of July the people made their feelings known and hit back .You will be able to see this on the internet and learn more .Have fun !
    I wish to thank Tony ,Walter and the rest of UA gang for your interest and participation in respose to this article .Will be away from the computer for 3 days ( I am not tech savy and don’t
    have any fancy gizmos to keep in touch)so keep on smiling and keep the faith.Cheers !