Archive for the ‘Cup Competitions’ Category
The very sight of Malaysia lofting the AFF Suzuki Cup Trophy high into the sky to the tune of Queen’s famous hit “We are the Champions” is sure to bring agonizing pain to any Indonesians with a tinge of patriotism in their hearts. That is what has just happened in admittedly quite a scintillating encounter between bitter rivals Indonesia and Malaysia in Jakarta for the 2nd leg of the AFF Suzuki Cup final. Indonesia were left to chase for no less than four goals after the 3-0 debacle from the first leg in Kuala Lumpur and to be frank, Indonesia had every chance to overturn that deficit but their true performance come a little too late, and had the goals arrived much earlier, especially if Firman Utina’s early penalty had found the net, nobody could rule out a thrashing in store for the Malaysians. However, many things prevented Indonesia from achieving that such as the performance of Khairul Fahmi, the young and amazing Malaysian goalkeeper whom I really admire, the still over-reliant on the “Bule” players, the double edged effects on the fervent and massive support for Indonesia, as well as certain mental thresholds in this match.
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The AFF Suzuki Cup Final has arrived and even though in the whole world generally, this regional (ASEAN) football competition might not be too insignificant compared to certain domestic football competitions such as the Barclays Premier League just to name one. However, I could almost guarantee that people from outside of the football mad region would not understand the importance and the sheer enthusiasm that is emanating from the fans. This is especially true for the countries which are still involved in this competition, Malaysia and Indonesia. The euphoria in both of these countries, especially in the ultra football mad Indonesia is really overwhelming. The AFF Suzuki Cup Final is really anticipated even more so than a World Cup Final. This is especially true since Indonesia has not won this regional competition stretching back all the way from 1991 and now they have a perfectly great chance to go all the way this time with their “Bule” (Pron. Boo-Lay) infused team. “Bule” is a colloquial Indonesian term for Western people in general and anyone with Western blood in their veins and also even for someone who looks Western, and thus in this context, it refers to Christian “El Loco” Gonzales, the naturalized Indonesian striker of Uruguay origin, and Irfan Bachdim, a promising young striker with Dutch heritages.
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The English League Cup has been the end of vicious football jokes not only within England, but also worldwide. This is a competition which is seen as a nuisance than something to be aimed for. In a world where the UEFA Cup (now known as Europa League) is nicknamed “Mickey Mouse Cup”, perhaps it is not surprising that the League Cup is held in such low regard. Big teams are especially known to just field their reserves and youth teams to get it over and done with in this competition every season and those big teams have traditionally been known to just tumble in the early rounds, such as how Liverpool lost to League Two’s mighty Northampton Town for instance. However, all those jokes and tolerance towards losing early in the competition cannot be afforded to one big team, and that team is the richest club in the world, Manchester City.