When Harimau Muda A entered the field, the young tigers knew they have to at least win the bronze medal for the SEA Games 2013. Especially after they failed to enter the finals for the first time since 2005.
During the first half of their last match, only two goals were scored. Both coming from the Singapore squad’s captain, Hariss Harun. Determined to win, Malaysia’s young tigers played with every bit of energy left in them and managed to fight back, giving the Singaporean lions an offensive threat and scored a goal. Yet, as the final whistle blew, they knew that they have failed to make Malaysia proud. After four years as the football champions of South East Asian games, the Harimau Muda A squad failed to not only defend their crown but even earn a bronze medal. They left the field with their heads down in frustration as the Singaporeans left the field beaming from ear to ear– they may have failed to bring back a gold medal, but being able to defeat the ex-defending champion and bringing home a bronze was enough.
If we are to start blaming people, then we can say a million. We can scold Irfan Fazail for not defending the goal at minute 14 when the ball passed right in front of him. We can say that Thamil Arasu had not lay down enough effort in the game with his weak shots and bad aiming. We can scold the forwards for not being able to cooperate with the midfielders as Nazmi Faiz always have to try to score a goal from an impossible distance because the forwards failed to produce themselves when needed. We can even scold Ong Kim Swee for his silly strategy during the semi finals.
But the game is over. What we should do now is learn from mistakes. Regroup and discuss what went wrong and how to improve it. What football teaches us is the importance of being a team and being able to cooperate and work together. Every bit of football is important. The managers, the coaches, the players and even the football supporters. Our support is what gives the young tigers the confidence and the spirit to keep on going. So it is our responsibility to give our feedbacks and keep on supporting them even though they have played badly. As Harimau Muda A’s right wing player said, “We are a team. We win together, we lose together.” We must stand together and try again next time. As we all know, bersatu kita teguh, bercerai kita roboh.