HOOLIGANS: Smoke bombs thrown by the Ultras forced the entertaining friendly to an unnecessary halt. Picture courtesy of Asiana.my

‘LOVE Football, Stop Hooliganism’, read the campaign banner just before the Malaysia-Philippines game. The Ultras apparently took that as a dare because 30 minutes into the match, the silent protest ended and bedlam began.

The Ultras, who were unison in a 30-minute silent protest against Sultan Ahmad Shah’s 30-year reign as Football Association Malaysia (FAM) president, went from being civilised to absolute barbarians by throwing smoke bombs onto the pitch, resulting in a seven-minute suspension.

Why they acted like fools beggars belief, especially when the national team were putting on a phenomenal show in front a near full capacity at the Selayang Stadium.

Harimau Malaya dominated the Azkals and could have been four goals up if not for a controversial disallowed goal by Amiridzwan Taj and the woodwork which denied Aidil Zafuan, Amri Yahya and Safiq Rahim in quick succession.

SENDING A MESSAGE: The hate banner displayed by the Ultras before the match. Picture courtesy of Asiana.my

The initial silent protest was the ideal remonstration, subtle in its manner, but with a strong message.

The mentality of these fans will continue to be a hindrance to the national team who are in a transitional period and need positive support.

The security at the stadium was also lackadaisical to say the least, despite FAM’s ban on flares and sticks to the stadium early this year.

This is the second time this week Malaysian fans have behaved at their worst, and both in games which garnered plenty of attention in the region.

Just four days ago, the AFC Cup encounter between Selangor and Arema was suspended right at the death after the Red Giants’ Ultras also let off smoke bombs at the same venue.

As a result, the Football Association of Selangor (FAS) will bear the brunt with a huge fine and the possibility of having to play behind closed doors.

FAM would also certainly face a similar fate, a repercussion that only affects the morale and confidence of the national team.

So, should the Ultras be banned altogether from the stadium?

Despite their vocal support which has brought life back to local football, this intolerable attitude will only set our progress two steps back.

There is no harm in venting out your frustrations, but it’s certainly is not through a billow of smoke.

Keep yourself in check Ultras.

Don’t keep showing the world the ugly side of Malaysian football.

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