Fans set the tone for Malaysia Cup showdown

KUALA LUMPUR: A heavy downpour and massive traffic jam failed to deter the bumper turnout of more than 100,000 fans for the 88th Malaysia Cup final between Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) and Pahang at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium on Saturday night.

Fans from both sides braved two heavy showers at 12pm and 4pm to be at the stadium for the match.  As expect, traffic was at a crawl from morning with more than 500 buses ferrying the fans.

The downpour even made the Youth and Sports minister Khairy Jamaluddin worried as he personally inspected the pitch around 5pm as the ground will host its first match after being closed for upgrading work since last year.

The traffic was a nightmare as predicted as two other events - Lan Berambeh Anak Sarawak 2014 Carnival and a Buddhist religious event - were also held at the National Sports Complexs vicinity.

The roads heading to the National Sports Complex were jammed as early as 2pm although the gates to the stadium were only opened at 4pm and the kick-off was at 8.45pm.

A pat in the back should be given to the Police department, who mobilised more than 3000 personnel to control the crowd and traffic.

Kudos also to the fans who filled the stadium up in an orderly fashion as soon as the gates opened.

Within moments the 100,000 capacity stadium was a sea of red and blue on the JDT half and black and yellow on the Pahang side.

And by 6pm the stadium was reverberating with fans chanting and the decibel level went up a notch as the players took to the pitch for their warm-up session.

The Pahang supporters stole the show by forming the initial ‘EA12’ (Elephant Army 12) in the stands as their players limbered-up before the match.

While the JDT fans replied with two giant banners of a fierce looking tiger pouncing next to a frightened Elephant defecating.

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