Malaysia have clinched the AFF Suzuki Cup, the biggest football tournament in Southeast Asia, for the first time since the competition was inaugurated in 1996, after defeating Indonesia over a two-legged final with a 4-2 aggregate.
Southeast Asian countries are among the weakest footballing nations – none of the teams has ever featured in the World Cup, yet there’s still strong enthusiasm for the sport. The Malaysian government are so overjoyed with the achievement that Friday is declared a special public holiday (which I think is a bit too much).
The games were not without dramas; both nations are in a love-hate relationship for decades, and the Indonesian supporters were not happy with the gimmicks of Malaysian fans at the first leg match in Kuala Lumpur. Armoured trucks and some 10,000 policemen were deployed to ensure the safety at the second leg at Gelora Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta. Thankfully there’s no need for them to be called into full action.