JAKARTA: Its hours away to kick off and the tense atmosphere could be felt outside The Sultan hotel where the Malaysian football team is staying on Wednesday.
It has been tense ever since the team arrived Monday and since Malaysia beat the Indonesians 3-0 in Sunday's AFF Suzuki Cup final first leg at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil.
In fact, the Malaysians have a bird's eye view of the going-ons outside the hotel, a five-minute drive from the Gelora Bung Karno stadium, venue of the much-awaited second leg.
Since morning, red-shirted Indonesian fans began to arrive in large numbers at the stadium.
Some have been camping there the whole night. The car horns have been blaring most of the day and traffic is starting to come to a standstill.
The TV stations started their live coverage early by conducting on-the-spot interviews and game assessment from the fans at the stadium.
Team manager Datuk Subahan Kamal said they have been provided with adequate security and even given a senior police officer to attend to the team's needs round-the-clock.
"The mood is good inside (the team) but we are quite worried what is going to happen outside. I was told that it is tensed out there.
"The Indonesian fans are upset with our victory in the first-leg at Bukit Jalil," Subahan told The Star.
Coach K. Rajagopal advised the boys to remain focussed and not get distracted by the happenings outside.
"We have a game to play on the field. What happens outside is not our concern. We came to play football," said Rajagopal.
FA of Malaysia (FAM) deputy president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah joined the team for lunch Wednesday.
On Tuesday, the team's final training at the Senayan C ground was called off due to security concerns.
Even their plans to train at an alternative venue backfired when they got caught in a traffic jam. Rajagopal was left with no other choice but to concentrate on light training at the hotel grounds.
There were reports of Indonesian fans mobbing them with banners carrying anti-Malaysia slogans during the training at the hotel ground. - theStar