PETALING JAYA, June 14 — The world’s biggest football tournament kicks off at 11pm today as host Russia takes on Saudi Arabia to the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.
Millions of fans will be supporting their favourite team and Malaysian politicians who have been ever-so busy since May 9 will also be cheering on the country of their choice over the next month.
Who are they supporting? Let’s find out.
1) M. Kulasegaran
Human resource minister
The Perak-born Kula loved playing football when he was younger and could be seen running down the flanks, supporting the attack and the defence.
A speedy fullback, his heart has been with Brazil since he was a kid, simply because he loves Brazil’s flair.
Growing up, he always admired Pele, the three-time World Cup winner (1958, 1962, 1970).
2) Anthony Loke
He admires Selecao’s style and skills which are on display every match.
However, he admits that he might be too busy to catch the World Cup, but with Neymar onboard, Loke does not have to worry as Brazil looks like the favourite to lift the trophy.
3) Charles Santiago
Another one on the Brazil fan boat.
In his own words: “I’m a Brazil supporter, a loyalist — win or lose.”
4) Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong
Ayer Hitam MP
The Melaka-born politician is another loyal Brazil fan.
Wee said that Brazil has been his favourite since he was a child and cited their samba style as the deciding factor.
5) Maria Chin Abdullah
Petaling Jaya MP
Maria will be cheering the Three Lions on for Russia 2018.
“England has not won the World Cup since Bobby Moore’s days. Amazing things have happened in Malaysia, so why not at the World Cup?” she said.
6) Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz
Padang Rengas MP
The former tourism minister will be backing Les Blues and cited their multiracial team as the reason for his choice. “I prefer France because the team is made up of multiracial players, which is interesting.
“Most of them do not play for larger-known clubs so they are like the dark horses,” he said.
7) Datuk Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah
Kelantan deputy mentri besar
Amar has been a lifelong fan of Brazil because of their skills and clean play.
8) Rafizi Ramli
Team: Germany, Brazil, Spain
Unlike most football fans, Rafizi will be pinning his hopes on these three nations at the World Cup.
“It’s called opportunistic support. I have always supported Germany-Brazil-Spain, in that order.
“As they progress, if one loses, I will transfer my support to the next available in that order. That way I remain ‘in the game’ because my team is still playing.”
9) Kasthuri Patto
Batu Kawan MP
The Ipoh-born politician is hoping that Argentina wins the trophy for the third time. If Lionel Messi and co fail, she will support foes, Brazil.
10) Datuk Wilfred Madius Tangau
Sabah deputy chief minister
The acting president of Upko will be supporting Brazil because of their style of play. If they fail, he’ll be cheering Argentina and Spain on.
11) Ahmad Faizal Azumu
Perak mentri besar
The businessman from Perak is confident that Germany will defend their trophy.
“They play excellent football and they proved that they are better than the other 31 nations during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
“They’ll defend it again this year,” he said.
12) Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak
Acting Sabah Umno chief
The former Communications and Multimedia Minister admires Die Mannschaft and believes their solid track record in international tournaments and strong work ethic will pull them through.
13) Salahuddin Ayub
14) Thomas Su Kiong Siong
Su loves the discipline and resilience showed by Germany at every international tournament.
Oh, and he dislikes England as they have no substance ouch!