Monday, April 23, 2012

Baying for blood

UNHAPPY: Disgruntled Terengganu die-hard fans demand FA president and head coach resign


IT was  bad enough that Terengganu had lost  to Premier League side Sime Darby FC in the FA Cup semi-final first leg tie in Kuala Terengganu on Saturday but they also had to endure verbal abuse from most of the capacity crowd at Sultan Ismail Nasiruddin Shah Stadium after Kamarul Afiq Kamaruddin sealed a 2-1 win for the visitors in  injury time.   

To make matters worse for the defending champions, more than a thousand spectators  gathered in front of the stadium's main entrance after the match to demand the  resignations of FA president Datuk Che Mat Jusoh and head coach Mat Zan Mat Aris.

   Water bottles were thrown in the general direction of the stadium's entrance  and it was only when riot police intervened that  the crowd  retreated  to the main street where they caused  traffic congestion.

   The chants of  Che Mat and Mat Zan letak jawatan (Che Mat and Mat Zan resign) reverberated in the night air for almost an hour until the police took control of the situation.

   But it did not stop  a few hundred  disgruntled fans from making  their way to Che Mat's residence in Kampung Nibong, a few kilometres  from the stadium.

   Che Mat, who is also team manager, said that his house was pelted with rocks and that some of them tried to crash the main gate but quick intervention by the police prevented any untoward incident.

   "Those people are not team supporters as I am sure a Terengganu fan will not go to the extent of  terrorising my wife and children," said Che Mat.

   "There were about 15,000 supporters at the stadium  but those few hundred who caused trouble afterwards were just trouble makers and not Terengganu  fans." Coach Mat Zan, who was visibly upset when confronted by several angry supporters after the match ended, said some fans had a tough time accepting that their team could not win all the time.

    "I am not happy with the performance of my players in the first half but they did play better in the second half. It  was unfortunate  we conceded a late goal," said Mat Zan.

   "But there are  still 90 minutes of football left to play away at Selayang Stadium next week when  we will have every chance of making it to the final."

Mat Zan said the team were handicapped by the absence of defender Zubir Azmi and midfielder Ismail Faruqi who were both serving their one-match suspension.

   Meanwhile, Sime Darby coach Ismail Zakaria said his team played according to plan and  were rewarded.

"We knew from the start that we had to rely on a counter-attacking strategy to have any chance of getting  something from the first leg tie," he disclosed.

   "Now that we have the upper-hand from  this encounter, we will have to devise a new plan in our quest to become the first club side to lift the FA Cup."

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