'Recent violent incidents suggest complex motives beyond fanaticism in Malaysian football'

Local football observer rules out fanaticism, betting as causes for recent footballer attacks.

24 May 2024 08:48pm
Photo for illustration purpose only. - Photo credit: Football Association of Malaysia Facebook
Photo for illustration purpose only. - Photo credit: Football Association of Malaysia Facebook

SHAH ALAM - In a detailed analysis, Malaysian sports are characterised by a moderate passion for teams and players, distinctly lacking the extreme fanaticism seen in other parts of the world.

This comes into focus particularly with the recent unsettling incidents involving local footballers Faisal Halim and Akhyar Rashid, which seem to transcend mere sports enthusiasm, suggesting other motives.

Former Selangor manager and football analyst, Zakaria Rahim or also known as Zack Rahim magnified on the subdued nature of Malaysian sports fandom compared to the intense passion prevalent in South America or England.

"While incidents in football are often attributed to fanaticism, the level of passion in Malaysia does not approach the extreme seen in these regions," Zack said in Sinar Daily's Sports Matters podcast aired recently.

Drawing on his experiences in England and comparing them to Indonesia, where fan intensity rivals that of the most ardent football nations, Zack shared insights into the culture of sports fanaticism.

"In Indonesia, the fan culture around clubs like Arema FC is palpable, with fans actively participating in ticket sales and support, showing a level of dedication that starts kilometres away from the stadium," he said.

However, in Malaysia, the scene is different.

"Here, fans may ask for a photo politely, but there's no aggressive rush or hunger as seen in Indonesia or Malaysia's other neighbours," he added, emphasising the orderly and respectful nature of Malaysian sports enthusiasts.

Related Articles:

Reflecting on the recent attacks, Rahim ruled out fanaticism as a cause, suggesting the need to look beyond typical explanations for these alarming events.

He also dismissed the involvement of bookies in these incidents, noting the absence of their typical operations as the Malaysian Football League (MFL) has yet to start (at press time).

"These are not actions influenced by sports betting or fan disputes but seem to point to more complex issues," Zack said.

The incidents began with Akhyar's robbery attempt, followed by Faisal suffering an acid attack and other footballers experiencing vandalism and theft shortly after.

These series of attacks have escalated concerns about the safety of athletes, hinting at underlying problems within the sporting community or beyond.

More Like This