The Malaysia Cup finals played before a packed crowd shows that the local game is alive, well and kicking – or is it?

The local football season drew to a close last weekend with the battle of the two colossus in the local game – Pahang and Johor Darul Takzim, which goes by the initials (JDT).

Both are state teams, with Royalty as its chief executive. They have shared the spoils before them this past few seasons; winning all the Cups that mattered on the domestic front.

The regal umbilical to the palace is not lost on football watchers. Football – running a football club, and winning requires a whole lot of cash.

Everyone ones to take a leaf from the book of Chelsea whose ascendancy owed a lot to the largesse of the Russian oligarch Roman Abromovitch.

If that was not clear enough, one needed only to look at the inexorable rise of Manchester City which went on a spending spree with Arab money. For more proof, just look at Real Madrid and their fierce rivals Barcelona.
These two Spanish clubs can boast of strike forces that that would be bring tears to the eyes of opposition managers simply by looking at the firepower named on their reserve benches.

Let’s come back to our shores.

Local football had its zenith back in the 1970s when even the likes of Japan and Korea held our team in high regard – nay; we were once feared!

Alas, those days are long gone. We struggle to keep up with our southern neighbours Singapore, quite often stumbling when we travel up north to play the Thais. Vietnam and the Philippines? We can’t be guaranteed of victory simply by turning up at the opening whistle any more.

So, the dire state of our football affairs appear lost to the hordes – 100,000 of them who packed the National Stadium to watch Saturday’s finals.

JDT pahang
The Pahang team celebrates their win after the nail-biting match on Saturday.

The result was decided by a nail-biting penalty shootout after the teams ended all square; two goals each at the conclusion of full-time plus 30 minutes of extra time.

On the field, it was the presence of foreign imports that shone and raised the quality of the football action.

There were African names and South American ones and it was they who figured among the goals. To cement that feature further, it was a local player on the JDT roster who failed to convert his spot kick which gave Pahang victory.

Soothing placating pats were made to absolve him from blame – hey; even David Beckham misses penalties – but the fact remains, this guy lost JDT the Cup!

The other feature that was not lost on everyone later was the poor state of the pitch. JDT team boss Bojan Hodak had repeated sounded his concern that the pitch was not pristine and the grass had not taken root.

So there we have it – we may be heading in the right direction as far as putting up a team worthy of the price of an entry ticket; the organization leaves a bit to be desired.

Ah well, it won’t be long before the new season begins again in the new year.

JDT out for revenge?