Football: Singaporean fans cautious but intent on a good time at Malaysian FA Cup final

Some of the 3,000 LionsXII supporters cheering yesterday as they were about to leave for Kuala Lumpur for tonight's Malaysian FA Cup final, the first for the Singapore club.
Some of the 3,000 LionsXII supporters cheering yesterday as they were about to leave for Kuala Lumpur for tonight's Malaysian FA Cup final, the first for the Singapore club.ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

LIONSXII fans heading to the Malaysian FA Cup final in Kuala Lumpur are not overly concerned that fan unrest, like what happened last Saturday in Kuala Terengganu, will repeat itself, but are taking precautions nonetheless.

Veteran tour operator Akbar Hashim, 54, will lead over 1,200 fans, or 30 bus loads, to the Bukit Jalil Stadium, the biggest contingent that he has taken charge of since the team's 2012 inception.

Football Association of Malaysia deputy president Effendy Hamzah revealed yesterday that it has sold more than 3,000 tickets to Singapore fans.

He added: "There are more than enough policemen on duty for the final, with 2,000 police and security officers. The LionsXII fans should not worry.

"Fans entering the stadium will go through three layers of checks. We are on the lookout especially for fake tickets and other forbidden items. We urge both sets of fans to conduct themselves and show respect."

Akbar will be dressed in a pirate's outfit for the match, as he has done many times before, hoping that Singapore can "steal" the trophy from Kelantan.

He does not expect any problem with the Kelantan fans, but is not taking anything for granted, saying: "We'll sit altogether, leave together after the match, and only after getting permission from the security there."

Retiree Rosminah Kadis, 62, who watched the match against Terengganu last week and is also going for tonight's game, said: "The most important thing is for us to stay cool, not provoke the (home) fans, and stick together."

isaacneo@sph.com.sg