Lest We Forget


Compiled by Faruq Bostaman

Nation fetes Dream Team

Ignatius Stephen & Azlan Othman

DECEMBER 6, 1999 – The giant killers came home to a tumultuous welcome yesterday.

Their ecstatic fans, who roamed the streets all night long since Brunei’s win over Sarawak to clinch the Malaysia Cup during a thrilling, nail-biting final in Kuala Lumpur’s Merdeka Stadium, surged on to Brunei International Airport to greet the triumphant return of the victorious football heroes.

Thousand cheered as Brunei team captain Liew Chuan Fue, the Temburong school teacher, emerged from the plane with the coveted trophy held high after defeating Sarawak. The waiting crowd simply seemed to go mad with exultation.

He and his teammates were mobbed by the elated supporters who had waited their arrival since morning in fever pitch excitement. The loyal fans numbering over an estimated six thousand had made their way to the airport as early as 10am and waited impatiently for almost four and a half hours until the plane bringing the champions landed at 2.30pm.

Equal enthusiasm was accorded to the officials led by His Royal Highness Prince Haji Sufri Bolkiah who mingled with the jubilant football fans. The supporters’ excitement was understandable: It was the first time ever Brunei has won the once seemingly unattainable Malaysia Cup.

From the airport the history making team and officials proceeded to the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium where there were more scenes of rejoicing as the surging supporters participated in the official welcome ceremony.

They went there in a motorcade including some Harley Davidson riders adding colour to the spectacle.

Enthusiastic supporters who thronged the airport: PHOTO: AZLAN OTHMAN

Victory lifts patriotism

Jacky Lim & Cedrina Clark

DECEMBER 7, 1999 – A wave of patriotic pride swept Brunei with its Malaysia Cup victory as people such as shopkeeper Haji Abdullah continued with the celebrations yesterday.

A friend of the shopkeeper said within minutes of the Saturday night victory, they carried on with a karaoke party for the rest of the night, singing Ricky Martin songs.

Haji Abdullah said he was indeed fearful when Sarawak scored first. His son, Ahmad was so worried he switched off the TV but later turned it back on, he said, when told that Brunei had scored two goals.

Two electrical workers Samad Suhali and Eihan bin Haji Apong chanted, “Brunei Yakin!” the battle cry of local soccer fans, while Samad continue wearing his yellow shirt in support of the national team.

Another local who is a former journalist said she was also very happy for Brunei and hoped the match will bring a cheer to the country and the people.

Meanwhile football fans James and Danny continued the fanfare yesterday at a restaurant.

Both workers from motoring departments told the Bulletin that they Brunei won the Malaysia Cup after attempting the feat for the last 20 years.

Another fan said it was a victory for Borneo regardless of the results.

People savour victory

Suriani Garip

DECEMBER 7, 1999 – A carnival atmosphere engulfed the country yesterday as Bruneians everywhere joined in the victory celebrations of the Malaysia Cup from Bandar to Kuala Belait.

As soon as the footballers or ‘Tebuan’ (Wasps, the team’s nickname) arrived at Tutong Civic Centre, midway in their victory procession from the capital to Belait at the other end of the country, thousands of anxious fans rushed to greet them with garlands and handshakes.

The players were greeted by Tutong District Officer Haji Harun bin Haji Ismail and treated to traditional music performances.

The national football team was led by Deputy Sultan His Royal Highness Prince Haji Sufri Bolkiah, who was escorted by four-wheel drive vehicles and bikers from Brunei Motor Association (PEMODA).

The heroes mingled with the crowd at the civic centre, handing out autographs and posing for photographs with the fans.

The trophy was placed in the middle of the hall for fans to photograph the hard-earned victory.

Ali momin signs on a little fan’s T-shirt. PHOTO: SURIANI GARIP