Malaysia’s national team have called Bukit Jalil Stadium ‘home’ since the early 2000s but the meaning of that word is about to hit a whole new level as Vijhay Vick shares what kind of aesthetic changes fans can expect...
An advertisement board at pitch side proclaimed Bukit Jalil Stadium as “the home of Harimau Malaya” but that, and the occasional full-house crowd, was perhaps the only thing that gave the national team a sense of belonging.
Considering the frequent unavailability of the stadium in recent years, there wouldn’t be any surprise if some of the players have forgotten what it feels like to play in one of the largest stadiums in the world.
In fact Shah Alam Stadium has hosted more international matches than Bukit Jalil since the 2012 AFF Suzuki Cup, which Malaysia were co-hosts of.
The atmosphere in Bukit Jalil Stadium can send shivers down one’s spine and it has helped Malaysia in crucial matches. Newcomers in the national team such as Fazly Mazlan, Matthew Davies, Shahrom Kalam, Brendan Gan and S. Veenod have not experienced a near 90,000 crowd cheering them on and that could be playing in their heads when the stadium reopens in 2017.
Yet the stadium never really gave the Tigers a sense of belonging.
Take a visit on a day the national team aren’t scheduled to play and there would barely be anything that says it is Malaysia’s home stadium.
The venue stands out among the sporting facilities in the area but apart from the A-board at pitch side, it would be tough figuring which football team the stadium was home to.
That is set to change as Phase One of works in the area will also turn Bukit Jalil into a national team-centric stadium, one that leaves no guessing which team calls the stadium home.
Out of the window are the colourful seats, standard dressing rooms and the stadium’s dull look. FourFourTwo were recently briefed on the changes in store.
A Malaysia-only dressing room
There are those who believe that matches can be won from the dressing room. Team talks are important and it’s no secret that home teams have a more equipped and advanced dressing room compared to the away team.
Bukit Jalil, however, have had similar rooms for all teams.
That will no longer be the case when the stadium reopens as there are plans for a Malaysia-only room, one that is exclusively available to the Tigers.
Like other areas in the stadium, the room will predominantly be in black and yellow and set to include additional material such as television and whiteboards. Malaysia Stadium Corporation (MSC) are also mulling options on what motivational phrases and images to be plastered across the walls.