Malaysia U-19 players and coaching staff may not receive justice after all following the incident in their semi-final AFF U-19 Youth Championship match recently, at least not according to the Malaysian FA (FAM) deputy president Datuk Wira Yusoff Mahadi.
Following their penalty shootout win over hosts and archrivals Indonesia U-19 at the Gelora Delta Stadium, Sidoarjo, on July 12, the home fans thronged the VIP stands, and started throwing bottles towards the Malaysian bench. The Malaysian players and staff were offered only minimal protection by the stadium security, and had to run one-by-one into the tunnel in order to escape being pelted with missiles.
A plea from Malaysia U19 asst head coach Hairuddin Omar right after last night’s #AFFU19 semi-final match.
Video shared by my father, I highly doubt he was the one recording it. pic.twitter.com/HfwkMoICfk — Zulhilmi Zainal❤💛 (@zulhilmibzainal) July 13, 2018
The Young Tigers however went on to win the final match against Myanmar U-19, their first ever in the tournament.
When asked by Goal following a press conference on Monday whether FAM has escalated the matter to the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) or the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) so that action can be taken on the Indonesian FA (PSSI), Yusoff responded with an answer that will surely disappoint many Malaysian fans.
“There has been no complaint nor protest (from FAM), as the FAM president and the PSSI president have a cordial relationship. Our response against the incident made it seem as if it was such a bad occurrence, when it could have been handled in a much better manner.
“You must remember that our teams go through that sort of atmosphere everytime they play there. Only the way it was handled was poor. Who knows, maybe in the future our own fans will be unruly such as theirs? We can’t do anything to make the Indonesian fans behave better, not when they’ve done the same thing to each other during their own competitions. So you understand the treatment received from them whenever foreign teams play there.
“We have voiced our regret over the incident, but in a cordial manner, requesting that such an incident will not take place again in the future, especially when our teams still have matches and tournaments in Indonesia this year,” remarked the Melaka United vice president.
As upsetting as FAM’s reluctance to pursue action against PSSI is, the worst may yet still happen. Malaysia U-23 will take part in the Asian Games that will be held in Palembang in August, the Malaysia U-16 side will head to Gelora Delta to play in the AFF U-16 Championship at the end of July, before taking part in the AFC U-16 Championship in Jakarta beginning October.