Following the LionsXII’s 2015 Malaysian FA Cup triumph, Gary Koh recalls the recent instances of Malaysian trophies crossing the Causeway (and the Brunei–Malaysia border)…
2013: Young LionsXII shock nation
In only the second year since a Singaporean side returned to Malaysian football, the LionsXII overcame all odds to emerge as champions of the Malaysian top flight. Built on the strength of defensive solidity and individual sparks of brilliance in attack, they made the Jalan Besar Stadium a fortress as they stayed unbeaten through the campaign, capping it off with a 4-0 win to seal the league title in front of the country's Prime Minister.
1999: Brunei win all-Borneo final
After years of being among the also-rans in the Malaysian football scene, Brunei turned on the style that year as they impressed in the league and made history by claiming their historic first and only Malaysia Cup. Brian Bothwell was the leading man up front with his potency in front of goal and his charm endeared him to the locals as their adopted son. Rosli Liman was the toast of the Bruneians as he scored both goals in their 2-1 win over Sarawak in the final, with skipper Liew Chuan Fue earning the honours as the first Bruneian to lift the much-cherished trophy.
1994: Singapore claim double
Blighted by the sudden departure of Ken Worden before the season kicked off, the Lions were not given a chance for success in the M-League. However, they confounded all expectations to claim a stunning league and cup double as the Class of 1994 sealed legendary status in the eyes of the average Singaporean. Fandi Ahmad and Abbas Saad formed a lethal partnership up front, culminating with them scoring all four goals in their Malaysia Cup final win over Pahang.
1985: First league title for Singapore
Combining the sheer tenacity of the squad and the tactical cunning of head coach Seak Poh Leong, Singapore claimed their first Malaysian league title and qualified for the Malaysia Cup in 1985. The inspired leadership of captain Au Yeong Pak saw the Lions dominate the 16-team league stage with an impressive record of 11 wins and two draws in a single round format. D. Tokijan wrote himself into local football folkfore with his goal-scoring feats, while Malek Awab epitomised the team with his tireless runs from midfield.