The nation's dream to secure a gold medal at KL2017's football games was shattered after Thailand edged Malaysia 1-0 to win the finals yesterday, 29 August
National goalkeeper Muhammad Haziq Nadzli scored an own goal after he punched the ball into his own net at the 39th minute after Malaysia gave away a corner.
Team Malaysia failed to find an equaliser despite putting up a strong fight and that own goal eventually led to Thailand's victory, to the dismay of thousands of fans at the Shah Alam Stadium and the millions who were watching at home.
Haziq was clearly disappointed that his unfortunate error had cost Malaysia that elusive SEA Games gold medal
National coach Datuk Ong Kim Swee refused to criticise the young keeper and urged Malaysians not to blame him for the loss
During the post-match press conference, Kim Swee defended the 20-year-old keeper and said that his blunder of punching the ball into his own net while defending a corner could have been committed by any player.
"It's a difficult situation for Haziq, and the mistake can happen to any player. We cannot blame him, he's still young and still learning," he was quoted as saying by NST.
Meanwhile, the Johor crown prince gave an inspiring team talk to the U-22 team, saying that he is very proud of their achievements in the SEA Games
In a video that has gone viral on social media, Tengku Mahkota Johor (TMJ) Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim, who is the current Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) president, can be seen meeting the players and giving a speech at the locker room after the final match.
"No one likes to lose. But that does not mean our journey ends here," he said.
Like most supporters, TMJ too felt disappointed with the loss but at the same time, he also spoke about being proud of the future successes that await the young players in the room.
TMJ thanked the players for giving their 100% throughout the whole tournament and reminded them that they are assets to Malaysia that have made the country proud
"Now, forget what happened. We make this as a lesson. This is the time for us to move on and look forward. There is still a very long way ahead for all of you (as a player)."
He also told them to learn from the mistakes and use it as a “weapon” in the times to come.
The meeting ended with TMJ promising that they will be rewarded with an incentive as the silver medal is still a great achievement.
Well done and congratulations, Malaysia!