Brunei's Nur Alimin Sungoh with his Indonesian fans. Picture: BT/ Yee Chun Leong
Indonesian crowd supporting
the national takraw team at
the SEA Games in Palembang,
Indonesia, on Saturday.
Brunei were not alone in Palembang.
The national sepak takraw team in the doubles events of the 26th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games here had attracted raucous Indonesian crowds at their matches.
They might be playing away from home, but 'the Brunei supporters' here made sure Nur Alimin Sungoh the crowd favourite and his teammates did not feel like strangers.
The fans who were also there for the Brunei team on Saturday cheered the national players on with some even waving the Brunei flag to help them get past the much-fancied Vietnam side on Saturday and spur them on against Laos yesterday. Brunei went down 3-2 to Laos yesterday, but not before giving them a very good fight.
So, who are these supporters?
The national players Nur Alimin, Ismail Ang and Md Shukri Jaineh had no ideas why they received such a good support from the locals.
"We don't know where the supporters come from, but we are really thankful to them for motivating us throughout our matches (both on Saturday and yesterday)," the trio said during an interview with The Brunei Times yesterday after their loss to Laos at the Jakabaring Promotion Centre here.
The defeat also spells the end of the team's campaign and they will return home without a medal from the Nov 11-22 biennial tournament.
A brief interview revealed that the 'Brunei crowds' were made up of over 300 pupils from local schools in Palembang.
Madikun, the coordinator of the Palembang Secondary School,said that they decided to cheer Brunei on to preserve unity in the true spirit of Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations).
"We (Indonesia) are the hosts of the Games and we want to show that we (the Asean countries) are one. All of them cheered with their hearts and they were happy to be here to support Brunei," Madikun told The Brunei Times.
Elfidawati, the coordinator of Palembang Vocational School, shared Madikun's sentiments.
"We have 85 pupils from our school here to support the Brunei team. They do it willingly and it shows that Asean countries are united," said Elfidawati when met at the Jakabaring Promotion Centre.
But, it was more than just the Asean spirit for some of these Brunei fans. Take 15-year-old Aprillya Muryan, for example. She and her friends were there to cheer on Nur Alimin, who received the loudest cheers from the crowd when his name was announced during the line up.
"We are here to cheer for Brunei, especially Alimin. He is very handsome, smart, tall and cute. That is the main reason we are here," said Aprillya .
"He is also really cool on the (takraw) court and we're happy to have an opportunity to get pictures with him," she added with a giggle.
Courtesy from Brunei Times