BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
The AFF Championship Group A match between Malaysia and Laos on Monday was the first home match for the Harimau Malaya, and around 12,000 of the home fans took the chance to flock to the Bukit Jalil National Stadium, Kuala Lumpur, to watch their team play.
🎉 Norshahrul Idlan Talaha’s decisive goal in the 86th minute for 🇲🇾 against 🇱🇦 brought the noise levels at the Bukit Jalil Stadium off the roof!#RoarWithAirAsia #DareToDream pic.twitter.com/h3drrTcIjX — AFF Suzuki Cup (@affsuzukicup) November 12, 2018
But one sector of the home fans also took advantage to pay tribute to six firefighters who lost their lives in a tragic incident early last month.
On October 4, six members of the marine rescue division from the Fire and Rescue Department of Malaysia; Fatah Hashim, 34; Izatul Akma Wan Ibrahim, 32; Mazlan Omarbaki, 25; Yahya Ali, 24; Adnan Othman, 33, and Hifdzul Malik Shaari, 25 perished in a freak accident, while trying to rescue a drowning accident victim in Puchong, Selangor.
On Monday, as the Malaysia national anthem was played and the two teams lined up for the match, Ultras Malaya displayed a choreo of the Malaysian flag in the stands behind one of the goalposts, held up by their members. But above the display, just below the scoreboard, they unfurled a banner that paid respect to the six firefighters, with the phrase 'Berkorban apa saja' (Malay for 'we'll sacrifice everything') placed between the portraits of the deceased.
Tribute to The Heroes of @bombaJBPM
BERKORBAN APA SAJA 🇲🇾🇲🇾🇲🇾
By @ultrasmalaya07 #EKOR🇲🇾 #DemiMalaysia #DemiNegara #NationalCalling #AFFSUZUKICUP2018 pic.twitter.com/fXfFZNpRLk — F I Q (@MarkFiq_) November 12, 2018
Their tribute, which took around four days to prepare according to an Ultras Malaya member, did not go unnoticed. The following morning, the Fire and Rescue Department's Facebook page expressed the department's appreciation towards the supporter group's show of sympathy.
Sejuta penghargaan kepada penyokong Ultra Pasukan Harimau Malaya di atas penghormatan kepada 6 Wira Merah yang terkorban semasa operasi menyelamat. Saya dan warga JBPM amat terharu dengan penghormatan ini pic.twitter.com/N5Fc4rHtp6 — YAS Datuk Mohammad Hamdan bin Hj. Wahid (@KP_bombaJBPM) November 12, 2018
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Syahmi Safari and Mohamadou Sumareh have only been fairly recently introduced to the Malaysia starting line-up, for differing reasons. What does the former think of playing on the right wing with the latter in the #affsuzukicup2018? Syahmi Safari dan Mohamadou Sumareh baru sahaja mendapat tempat dalam kesebelasan utama Malaysia, atas sebab-sebab yang berbeza. Apa pendapat Syahmi bermain di sayap kanan bersama-sama Sumareh dalam Piala AFF?