Cheng Hoe fancies bigger crowds to get ball rolling again


PETALING JAYA: There’s not much of a spectacle when there are no spectators. And the just concluded Super League season could have done with bigger attendances at the stadiums.

National coach Tan Cheng Hoe believes the games would have been more competitive if more fans were allowed at the venues.

The league this season saw teams playing the full 22 games, compared to only 11 last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. But only some stadiums were allowed to have a small number of fans.

“The lack of fans has made the games a bit dull. You can’t see much aggression, and the tempo is also a little different.

“It’s not just the Malaysian League... this has also happened in the other leagues when there were no fans,” said Cheng Hoe.

“In front of fans, players will feel the urge to push themselves. When that happens, the game’s tempo gets faster, and you see lots of better movements and stronger defending. You can see the difference from the previous seasons.

“I hope the Malaysia Cup will be more exciting and see the return of fans. I’m sure it will boost the spirits of teams and players.”

Cheng Hoe, however, said the full season allowed him to assess several young players to be considered for the national team.

“Terengganu played several youngsters, who have impressed. Kuala Lumpur also had some exciting players, which we have been watching. Not to forget, Kedah and Penang also featured some good local players,” he said.

“Petaling Jaya City also made an impression with their all-local squad and showed no fear when facing the top sides boasting foreign players.”

Kedah’s veteran midfielder Baddrol Bakhtiar ended up as the highest local goalscorer in the Super League, with seven goals in 21 games.

Asked if the 33-year-old would be considered for national selection, Cheng Hoe said: “The door is always open for any player. As long as they can contribute to the team, they will be welcomed.”

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