Posts Tagged ‘monkeys’

Thailand v Myanmar, Saturday 26th August 2017, 4pm

October 1, 2017

The South East Asian Games has been taking place in Malaysia. It’s an Olympic style event, held every couple of years and includes football. I’d been keeping an eye on the fixtures to see if there were any games that I could attend but my daughter and the grandkids were visiting for most of the duration and they have little interest in football. Or at least they don’t when the alternative is monkeys. Mind you, I don’t have much interest in football when the alternative is monkeys. We visited ‘monkey hill’ at Kuala Selangor to feed monkey nuts (what else?) to silver leafs and macaques, did the same with the baboons at the Batu Caves and then nipped over to Sabah to stare at the orangutans and proboscis monkeys.

Once we were all monkeyed out, Jen and I were free to take in a semi-final game at Selayang. Tickets were briefly available online and I snapped up two at twenty ringgits a pop. Selayang is a couple of hours away, to the north-east of KL and we arrived at the fifteen-thousand capacity Majlis Perbandaran stadium about thirty minutes before kick-off.

The area around the ground was very busy, mainly with Myanmar supporters in red shirts. I didn’t immediately spot that our tickets had gate numbers marked on them and we did half a lap of the ground to where the queues appeared shortest behind one of the goals.

Someone noticed the tickets in my hand and very kindly pointed out that the gates we were in the throng for were for those without tickets and seeking free entry in some sort of government freebie.

I checked the tickets again and realised that we needed to backtrack and enter near the halfway line. There was a big scrum for those gates and we joined at the back and gradually worked our way forward. After a while we were hemmed in and it was a case of ‘elbows out’ and maneuvering as best we could towards the single body and bag scanners.

I didn’t ever feel in danger of anything other than getting my toes tread on, but Jen is a bit shorter than me and she mentioned afterwards that she struggled for breath a couple of times. We got in just as the teams were kicking off and with the section along the side of the pitch full, made our way towards the empty area behind the goal.

Twenty minutes or so into the game I had a look over the back wall and it was just as busy outside as it had been half an hour earlier. A lot of people had given up trying to get in and had found vantage points on the road outside that enabled them to see part of the pitch. Others were still trying to get through the gates with a heaving mass of bodies behind them.

Myanmar were by far the best supported of the teams and seemed to have around ninety percent of the stadium. They had all of the ‘bowl’ and all but a third of the small ‘main’ stand to our right. It took until well into the second half for the ground to fill up but with a single scanner for each stand it was never going to be easy.

There weren’t a great deal of chances in the game. I suppose with it being a semi-final it was always likely to be a cagey affair.  Thailand were probably the more attacking side, but neither keeper had a great deal to do and it was well into the second half before one of them was required to produce a decent save.

We cleared off with about ten minutes to go and the game still goalless. I didn’t fancy hanging around for extra time and pennacks as we had plans for a KL tapas bar that I was keen to get started on. As we left via a gate that was opened specially for us there were still fans outside pressed against it. Our departure meant that two of them were let in for the last ten minutes and I felt a little guilty that we’d deprived fans from attending a game that obviously meant a whole lot more to them than us.

Mind you, the two Burmese fellas probably wished they’d stayed outside as an injury time header sneaked the win for Thailand and took them into a final against hosts Malaysia.