JAKARTA: It was a sea of red and white at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium last night.
Never had there been such an overwhelming show of support for “Timnas” (national team) Indonesia even though they had lost 0-3 to Malaysia in the first leg of the Suzuki Cup Asean Football Federation (AFF) Championships final at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil on Sunday.
It was a sellout crowd of 95,000 spectators, mostly red-hot hostile fans.
Some 10,000 policemen were deployed to check security inside and outside the Bung Karno Stadium.
Armoured vehicles were near the pitch, showing that the police were ready for any eventualities.
There was a real Cup final atmosphere with fans clad in the Indonesian national colours, fancy head gears and colourful banners.
Uruguayan-born striker Christian Gonzales, Indo-Dutch Irfan Bacdim and local hero Bambang Pamungkas were crowd favourites.
Some had messages to inspire and fire up the “Garuda”, the nickname for the Indonesian national team.
They read: “Garuda Di Dada Ku, TIMNAS Kebanggaanku”, “Ayo Bambang, Kamu Pasti Bisa” and “Bangun Sepakbola Indonesia Menuju Prestasi”.
The stadium was filled to the brim two hours before the kick-off. They were entertained to a live band performance by celebrities and artistes, making the atmosphere carnival-like.
National coach K. Rajagopal, manager Datuk Subahan Kamal, assistant secretary of the FA of Malaysia (FAM) Kelly Sathiraj and assistant coach Tan Cheng Hoe were given a hostile reception when they walked onto the pitch to check on the playing conditions.
The fans showed the thumbs down sign and jeered at them before their Indonesian counterparts led by Austrian coach Alfred Riedl trooped in to a rousing welcome.
It was the same when the national anthem was played. The Indonesian fans showed their ugly side, jeering and gesturing at the Malaysians when the Negaraku was played.