PETALING JAYA: The top scorer of the AFF Cup when Malaysia last won the title in 2010, Safee Sali believes that the ‘wound’ of being defeated by Vietnam will heal and that Malaysia will be able to qualify for the semi-finals by beating Singapore next Tuesday.
Singapore and Vietnam will square off today at the Jalan Besar Stadium in Group B action, where the result is crucial to determine the direction of the national team.
Safee said, the script this time is almost the same as his team’s when they achieved success in the 2010 edition, when they lost to the chosen team, Indonesia in the group stage, but eventually finished the tournament as champions.
“I think the players already know the real situation and they must have a burning spirit to step into the semi-finals after suffering a defeat.
“For Azam Azmi (Murad) who will miss the match due to picking up a red card, I don’t think he needs to be depressed by what happened, he has encouraging qualities and determination to help the team.
“Mistakes have happened but he should be proud to be given the opportunity to wear the national jersey,” said Safee Utusan Malaysia.
Safee added, the strength of the squad this time is not only the team spirit, but the different tactical strategies that Kim Pan Gon has to confuse the opponent.
Although on paper Malaysia’s ranking at 145 in the world is much better than Singapore (160), it is not a comfortable advantage, not to mention that the Lions squad is strengthened with the children of the legend, Fandi Ahmad, namely Irfan and Ilhan Fandi and Syawal Annuar who so far has scored two goals.
“The meeting with Singapore is important to reach the semi-finals, but playing in Bukit Jalil will be an advantage for us to present an energetic action,” he said.
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