Will They Or Won't They?

By Ahmad Nazrin Syahmi Mohamad Arif

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 28 (Bernama) -- All Malaysians are eagerly waiting.

Tomorrow is the day of reckoning for Malaysia in the 'mother of all battles' in the SEA Games - the battle for the football gold medal.

This time around it is not only the medal at stake but it is the medal the people are waiting for with bated breath as it will a fitting gift in view of Malaysia celebrating its National Day on Thursday (Aug 31).

It may be quite a task against defending champions Thailand at the Shah Alam Stadium tomorrow night but the silver just won't do if going by the crowds standing in long lines outside the 80,000- capacity stadium just to get a ticket is a yardstick.

For national coach Kim Swee, the final brings back memories of 2011 when Malaysia beat Indonesia in the final on their on turf in the Jakarta Games.

"In the final with Malaysians cheering us on at the stadium and others glued to their television screens, we cannot settle for less,"Kim Swee told the pre-match press conference.

Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin has sounded the clarion call and it is 'battle stations' for the boys.

Though hardened campaigner S.Kumaarhan is on the croc list, the 46-year-old coach expressed confidence that the frontline was up to the task.

All eyes will be on find of the competition N.Thanabalan to produce his magic again tomorrow. The Felcra FC striker has scored four goals so far and netted the winner in the 1-0 victory against Indonesia in the semifinals on Saturday.

Thailand, though topping their group, struggled against Myanmar in the other semifinal match and were lucky to find the winner with just about a minute from the final whistle.

Their assistant coach Naruephon Kaensonn said that even though Thailand beat Malaysia 3-0 in the qualifying round of the 2018 Under-23 AFC Cup, it would 50-50 tomorrow for both the Under -23 sides.

"You can't compare the past results because it won't help you to predict which side is better. It's a different stage and different game. We won against Malaysia last month but Malaysia defeated Indonesia in the semi-final which we drew against them (Indonesia) in the group stage.

"Tomorrow it's going to be a whole different ball game as in the final anything can happen. We will do everything we can for the game tomorrow,"he said.

Will the wait be over tomorrow?