LionsXII help Kedah to pack the Darulaman Stadium terraces
ALOR SETAR - The LionsXII may have broken the hearts of the Kedah supporters when they triumphed 3-1 on Saturday night to eliminate the northern state from the Malaysia Cup, and qualify for the knockout rounds of the tournament.
But Kedah Football Association officials still had reason to smile nevertheless.
Reason: the match was witnessed by a 32,000-strong crowd, Kedah’s largest crowd attendance at the Darulaman Stadium in recent years.
“The best we had before this game was about 15,000 when we hosted Johor Darul Takzim in an FA Cup second round match,” said a Kedah FA official.
There was a time when the Darulaman Stadium was the hotbed of Kedah football.
Packed terraces was the order of the day whenever Kedah played there especially during their glory years in the previous two decades. The Canaries won the Malaysia Cup in 1990, completed the League-Malaysia Cup-FA Cup treble in 1993, 2007 and 2008.
But the fans stopped coming in recent years as Kedah football went into the doldrums.
Kedah were relegated from the Malaysian Super League last season, and missed out on promotion when they finished fourth in the second-tier Malaysian Premier League this year.
According to Kedah FA officials, crowds averaged about 8,000 this season.
But Ahmad Shafie, the state’s long-time coach and now an advisor to the set-up thinks that Kedah’s recent performances in the Malaysia Cup will help to bring back the fans.