Tuesday December 7, 2004

LATEST: Perlis Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim has declared Dec 13 as a public holiday for the state for winning the Malaysia Cup for the first time in 83 years.

Rousing heroes’ welcome for Malaysia Cup champs

BY RONNIE OH & LOGANATH VELLOO

UP CLOSE: Fans in Perlis eagerly reaching out to get a feel of the Malaysia Cup which to the people of Perlis is really one very elusive football silverware to capture.
KANGAR: The sleepy town of Kangar came abuzz as Perlis fans turned up in droves to welcome home their Malaysia Cup heroes yesterday.
The usually quiet streets, even those leading to Kangar, was buzzing with activities, as people of all ages came out to show their support for the team, who achieved a historic feat by winning the coveted Malaysia Cup the night before.
Making the Malaysia Cup final for the first time, the Northern Lions firmly ended a long 83-year wait, edging Kedah by a solitary goal at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil.
Rightly, the Perlis fans let their hair down in celebration and although they opted not to get it off the ground at the Sultan Abdul Halim Airport in Kepala Batas because it was Kedah territory, they went wild right at the Kedah-Perlis border at Ulu Pauh.
Despite the sweltering afternoon heat, thousands of them armed with kompangs, airhorns, flags and even long banners, reading 'Welcome home our heroic Northern Lions', were unfazed.
The Perlis players hold aloft the Cup during a parade in Kangar town.
The usually quiet and free flowing Changloon-Kangar highway was turned chaotic. There were more than a hundred cars, motorcycles and pick-up trucks all set to form a motorcade to escort their heroes home.
And when fans began dancing in the streets to the beat of the kompangs while waiting for the arrival of their heroes, traffic was brought to a standstill.
When the Perlis Mentri Besar and FA president, Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim, team manager Adzmi Saad and coach Norizan Bakar drove up with the Cup in a sunroof Mercedes-Benz and the two executive coaches, ferrying the players, reached the state border, the fans held nothing back.
With shouts of “Perlis Boleh” ringing out loud and clear and car owners blaring their horns, the border point was turned in a carnival-like atmosphere.
Even as they made their way toward the city centre, going through the royal town of Arau, there was no let off from the fans, who had lined the streets there.
With the Perlis flag flying at high mast, some of the fan were seen letting off fire crackers and throwing confetti as the convoy blazed through the streets.
So proud was Perlis in bringing home the Cup that they even drove it round the streets of Kangar to the cheers of the public.
Thousands more were gathered outside the historical State Secretary's office situated in the heart of Kangar town.
And the moment the coaches pulled in and the players were about to alight from the bus, there was some difficulty keeping the crowd back. The fans crowded the bus' exit with the hopes of getting to shake the hands of their heroes and the officials.
The loudest cheer of them all rang out when the Cup was brought out of Shahidan's car and put on display.
Shahidan said that the State Secretary's office is just the right place to showcase the Cup since the building is equally historic.
“The Malaysia Cup has been in existence even before Merdeka (independence) and since this building has been here since 1940, it is fitting for it to house this prestigious Cup,” he said.


Parent site: "Focus on Malaysia"