Nineteen years ago, Malaysia really did beat the Aussies 1-0. In football la.
P. Ravindran, the nippy winger nicknamed Kinta Express for obvious reasons, struck the solitary goal in the 70th minute at the Senayan Stadium. Malaysia went on to win the Jakarta Independence Cup, or Piala Jakartaraya.
Among the vanquished stars from Down Under were Alistair Edwards, Abbas Saad and Mehmet Durakovic. Warming the bench Darren Stewart.
The victorious included Khairul Azman Mohamad, Zainal Abidin Hassan, Azman Adnan, A Jayakanthan, Yeo Swee Hock and Shahrin Majid. Coach was Ken Worden, assisted by K. Rajagobal (now Datuk). The Jakarta victory was the second title for the national team throughout 1992, following their win in Vietnam a few months earlier.
Worden, known to be a strong motivator, tended to use a 5-3-2 formation, favouring Reman Ragunathan, Lee Kin Hong and the late Zaid Jamil to form the central defensive triumvirate, with Ismail Ibrahim on the right and Jayakanthan on the left. Swee Hock, Shahrin on the left and Ravindran on the right formed the midfield trio, with twin strikers Zainal and Azman spearheading the attack.
These days, Australia and Malaysia are worlds apart. It's good to be taking on the Aussies but questions remain whether the 10 players still involved in the Malaysia Cup, are focused on the task.
The 22 who departed for Canberra for the game on Wednesday were goalkeepers Khairul Fahmi Che Mat and Farizal Marlias, defenders Norhafiz Zamani Misbah, Mahalli Jasuli, Farisham Ismail, Asraruddin Putra Omar, Zubir Azmi, Faizal Muhammad, Muslim Ahmad, midfielders K Gurusamy, Amar Rohidan, Joseph Kallang Tie, S. Kunanlan, Wan Zaharul Nizam Wan Zakaria, Yong Kuong Yong, Reuben Thayaparan Kathiripillai, Baddrol Bakhtiar, Khyril Muhymeen Zambri and forwards Safee Sali, Norshahrul Idlan Talaha, Shahrizal Saad and Izzaq Faris Ramlan.