Then the premier league matches between USM and Pahang, I paid RM10 for VIP (rooftop) seating. One of my friends was playing for USM...Fahmi. We called him Maicon USM. I played against him once and lost (football match...but not the real one, it was PES).
Abang Khalik warned the situation could be rowdy...because Sarawak fans are quite rough. Along the way, I could see fans in droves (could be spotted easily because they were wearing Sarawak jersey) headed towards Stadium Negeri. It was a bit of a traffic congestion near the stadium, but we went smoothly and managed to find a good parking spot.
There were already large movement of people towards the main gate of the stadium, and the atmosphere was terrific. Most of the people were wearing jerseys, and I was on jersey as well...Malaysian jersey. Inside the stadium, wave of stripes of reds and blues were filling the stadium. The stands were loaded with fans to the core. The kickoff was brought forward to 8.15 p.m.
Some observations :
- Sarawak fans are passionate about football...this could be seen by their bold, giant attendance. Abang Khalik explained this was due to their recent blazing forms (unbeaten in premier league). Before this, patches of empty seats could be seen everywhere. Everybody likes winners, after all.
- The stadium could fill 40,000 in maximum capacity. There were some fans who were left standing, so I bet the attendance was more than that.
- In a city where the majority are Chinese, what probability a Chinese was spotted in the stands among the 40 000 raucous fans? Should be pretty high, no? But I saw none. I sought everywhere, no Chinese faces. This 40 000 ardent supporters came from all over Sarawak (I was told some came even as far as from Miri) but almost none were Chinese. Where were the Chinese?
- Girls. A noticeable amount of girls were present in the stadium. Why? Some didn't even know the name of the players.
- Firecrackers. For each of the goals scored, firecrackers were thrown to the pitch. It was no ordinary 'mercun bola' or 'mercun papan', it was 'mercun ketupat'. For those who knows a bit about firecracker, ketupat is the most dangerous among all. When I was in standard six, we got a hold of it. I remember my best friend at that time, Pion, lit it using a 10 meters galah. He was the bravest among us, but even he was scared of it. Imagine if one of those flying ketupat landed on our head instead of on the pitch?
- Manners. A very young boy in front of me kept uttering profanities every single time the ref blew the whistle to stop the play. He was not passionate about football, he was just passionate of making a scene. And his father didn't say anything...minus in one occasion where he went over the top with some rude remarks and his father finally asked him to sit down. He should have ticked off his young boy much earlier. Such a shame.
Update 4/9/13 - Syawal told me that Syafira saw me after the match and tried to call me but to no avail (I heard nothing by the way, the crowd was so noise. I was also in a hurry to exit the stadium because of the fear of the incoming firecrackers). Syawal couldn't attend the match because of kenduri.