I attended the match between Darul Takzim FC and Perak last night.
Darul Takzim FC is of course formerly known as Johor FC. Ever since the club had been taken over by PBNJ there has been a football revival of sorts amongst the Johorians.
I mean look at this. This is unseen of before. I can't wait to see how it looks like inside the stadium.
The locals regard them as Malaysia's own Manchester City in terms of budget and spending power.
Excitement is in the air. I can feel it.
Drums, gongs and whistles playing non-stop, as if a festival is brewing.`Let's go inside.
We're inside. Look at the crowd capacity.
Amazing. A super no vacancy.
Mind you that this is a 30,000 seated stadium. For the team to be able to draw such a crowd for what is considered a normal football match is a huge, huge success.
The atmosphere inside is just through the roof. Non-stop clapping and chanting. Even if you're never a football fan you will fall in love with this kind of atmosphere.
The last time I went to a stadium to watch a game of football is when I was 8. It was a match between Terengganu and Perak. It was me, abah and an uncle of mine. Terengganu won, and I remember abah holding me over his shoulder like Rafiki holding out Simba over the Pride Rock just as the final whistle was blown.
Anyway, I arrived a bit late so looks like no seat for me. I bought a grandstand ticket which costs me RM20.00. A normal ticket costs only RM10.00 per person.
Personally if you are confident that it won't rain on the day of the match, just buy a normal ticket. Grandstand is a fancy name for a roofed area of the stadium. No more, no less.
The game was already on its 13th minute when I arrived.
At first I kind of hated how Darul Takzim's jersey looks, but after seeing it in person and on the field, I think they looked perfect. Red and blue - that is our team's color now I guess.
I am able to find a seat near the hardcam. But the place was so cramped that I might as well just stand up. The person in front of me was also smoking cigarette so imagine the uncomfortableness.
But don't let that deter you from coming to the stadium. The Johorians are clever with the chants. At the 30th something minute when Perak's goalkeeper somehow cramped his thigh muscles, the crowd chanted
"Enjet-enjet semut, siapa sakit keluar padang, enjit-enjit semut siapa sakit keluar padang"
It might sound corny in hindsight but at that moment, it was very clever and funny.
However to be honest, the first half of the game is boring. Perak clearly looks like the better team, and Darul Takzim struggled to have a clear possesion of the ball even though they have the hometeam advantage.
First half result, 0 - 0.
Time for a half-time break, people are storming out of the stadium like ants. I figure they are looking for food, or just wanting to stretch their limbs.Polices are aplenty to keep things under control.
It now strikes me just how family friendly watching a football match live is. You'll see kids looking like they are having the time of their lives just chanting and screaming, which is a joy to watch.
I also decided to go out, to buy some food for my now empty stomach. Lots of stalls selling merchandise outside, almost like a night market you'll go to every Thursday night.
Which I think is good because it creates a business opportunity for locals alike.
I bought nuggets and drinks from here.
Second half is starting. I still can't believe looking at a full stadium. Tengku Mahkota Johor's investment looks like it paid off big time.
Managed to get a great sit this time. But it's quite scary.
I sat next to this man who's banter is hilarious. It is such a joy watching besides him.
Darul Takzim's gameplan was so much better in the second half. They were firing on all cylinders. Aidil Zafuan scored the only goal of the match with a header via a beautiful cross by Safiq Rahim.
But Safiq's performance in the game was quite a dud in my opinion. The people in this section were also thinking that way.
"Main bukakla Safiq!", "Passingla wei!" "Gaji ko dah mahal, main la elok-elok!"
I'm sure all those comments were made in the heat of the moment. After all football is a very emotional game.
For me it's good to have passionate local football fans again.
I highly recommend everyone to at least experience a football game live no matter what state you are from.
It is a whole lot of fun.
The final whistle was blown. People were scrambling to get out. But major props to them for doing so in such an organized manner.
I had a good time, and I'll be sure to come again.
The final score? Darul Takzim FC won of course, one goal to nil.