Saturday, October 17, 2009

I was at Merdeka Stadium on Cup-Final Night 1977

For unk Dicko and many of my generation who had the good fortune of watching our national footballers since the early 60's , I think the large majority would agree that the 1977 Malaysia Cup-winning team was the BEST Singapore Football team to date.
Everyone in that team, including those on the bench, was a household name and led by the legendary coach Choo Seng Quee, brought the whole of Singapore to fever pitch...the night of the Cup Final in Merdeka Stadium, KL in May 1977.

I was seated among the 38,000 crowd watching the Final. That was the only Cup Final across the causeway that I ever attended. As I said, many of us had caught the "fever" as our boys in blue progressed through the competition from the Q-finals, then S-finals and the actual Dream Final. I can't really explain it but I felt like this ( never felt it the same way before ) ...if I did not bother to go all the way to KL to support OUR team, then somehow, I didn't think they could win. We all knew what an intimidating atmosphere it would be in the Merdeka stadium for our team, our officials and our loyal supporters. In reality, it was a hundred times more than just intimidating!
They really hated us....Singapore that is!
Scores of Singaporeans were hauled away by their police just for shouting very vehemently ," Referee KAYU! Referee KAYU! " Some of them were detained overnight and only released the next day.
The referee for the match was Selangor Referee Koh Guan Kiat who, in the dying minutes
of extra time, when our boys were holding on to their 3-2 lead...for unknown, strange and inexplicable reasons, awarded a freekick to Penang at the top of the penalty box. The crowd was stunned. Even my very good and close friends from KL, whom I was seating with, were stunned as well! No rhyme or reason to award one and Ref Koh...awards! That happened very often in many of our gut -wrenching Malaysia Cup matches over the decades and years. Thus the shouts of "Referee Kayu!" which was actually very mild compared to some of those shouted by Ah Bengs, Alis and Samys which went...."**2-**#!#!!! u! @@#!!U!!! "
In the end Shukor Salleh, Penang's midfield general, took the freekick tamely which posed no problem for goalie Edmund Wee.

When the final whistle was blown.....not only did the players cry tears of joy, unk Choo cried, our supporters inside Merdeka stadium cried and jumped, then jumped and cried...back home, I dare say many would have cried in sheer happiness too.

And me...using my hanky, I had to wipe away the corner of my eyes which welled up.
I had never felt happier shedding such tears!

The SUNDAY NATION front page of May 29 1977 ( above) is part of my extensive collection of archives.

Many of those papers have been kept as they were...uncut in their original condition.
To scan parts and portions of such a large page for uploading onto my blog here is quite a challenging task. I have to ensure that I do not damage the fragile page as I fold it into a more manageable size for scanning. I do not want to cut it into smaller portions, preferring to keep it whole.
So I do apologise if the photos have creases and folds here and there.

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