Fans flock to see their heroes despite last-minute venue change

Die-hard fans: Supian Ramil and his family travelled all the way from Pahang just to see Barcelona play Malaysia at the Shah Alam Stadium yesterday.

KUALA LUMPUR: The last-minute venue change did nothing to deter 40,000 fans from turning up for the Barcelona-Malaysia friendly last night.

The organisers decided to switch the venue from the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil to the Shah Alam Stadium late on Friday night.

Many of the fans only learnt of the venue change a couple of hours before kick-off but that did not dampen their mood.

Besides the football-mad Malaysians, some die-hard Barcelona fans from as far a England and Australia also turned up for the friendly.

Die-hard Barcelona fan Supian Ramli and seven of his family members made their way to the stadium as early as 2pm for the 8.45pm kick-off.

“I’m very excited. Barcelona is the only team I support. I’ve been waiting to see them for a long time and they’re finally here,” said Supian, who drove from Temerloh, Pahang, for the match.

Australian Stuart Bolpon and his son Daniel, 15, travelled all the way from Perth to see their favourite team in action.

“We arrived here on Thursday and we’ll be leaving tomorrow (today). We came here just to see Barcelona and (Lionel) Messi. We are massive Barcelona fans,” said Bolpon.

And in true fashion that football really unites the world, Briton Rob Ayee turned up to watch the match with Australian Leroy McDougall. Both the 21-year-olds met at the Birdnest Guest House in Jalan Petaling earlier this week.

Ayee, a Leeds United fan, was at the Masjid Jamek LRT station when he found out about the change of venue through a text message from the ticketing agents.

“I got the text message at about 1.55pm today. I was already at the station to proceed to Bukit Jalil. Luckily, I got the text message,” said Ayee who studies medicine at the University of Liverpool.

“I had gone to Bukit Jalil to check out how to get there two days before the match. It’s all good now we are here at Shah Alam Stadium. Now, we hope to see a good match,” said McDougall who started supporting Barca when Brazil’s Ronaldinho joined the team in 2003.
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Football , Barcelona , Malaysia , friendly


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