Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Football: Gold will boost flagging morale

Chef-de-mission Datuk Zainal Abidin (second from right) meets athletes for the Sea Games at Bukit Jalil yesterday. — Pic: HASAN ISMAIL.
Chef-de-mission Datuk Zainal Abidin (second from right) meets athletes for the Sea Games at Bukit Jalil yesterday. — Pic: HASAN ISMAIL.

WINNING the Sea Games gold medal will go a long way towards giving Malaysian football, presently very stagnant, a massive boost.

Two years ago in the Manila Sea Games, Malaysia made it to the semi-finals only to be edged 2-1 by Vietnam at the Panaad Stadium in Bacolod.

The last time Malaysia won gold in the Games was in 1989 in Kuala Lumpur.

Chef-de-Mission Datuk Zainal Abidin strongly believes that football in the country is on the brink of a strong revival and that Malaysia can win gold in Korat provided the players are mentally strong and keep a positive attitude.

"I hope the players stay strong both mentally and in their attitude. Football has a large following in the country and I hope the team will bring the gold medal back," said Zainal when he visited Wisma FAM yesterday to meet the players and offficials.
Also present were general secretary of the FA of Malaysia, Datuk Azzuddin Ahmad, team manager Datuk Soh Chin Aun and coach B. Sathianathan.

"It is not going to be easy, especially with the opponents aware of our achievement in the Merdeka Tournament, but I have been following the team's progress and I believe we have a good side."

Azzuddin added: "The players must fight for every ball, play with a never-say-die attitude and give it your best. Win the gold medal and make the nation proud."

Sathianathan, who is confident of delivering gold medal, will be taking the Under-23 team to Bangkok tomorrow for a match against the Thailand Under-23 side.

"It will be a good chance to gauge our level," said the coach. We might meet them (Thailand) in the semi-finals, so I am sure it will be an exciting match."

On their return from Bangkok, the Under-23 side will play the Yemen national team on Nov 14, take on the Maldives national team three days later in KL, the Botswana national side on Nov 21 and the Indonesian Under-23 side on Nov 24.

THE SQUAD - Mohd Daudsu Jamaludin, Sumardi Hajalan, Samransak Kram, Mohd Khyril Muhymeen Zambri, Mohd Bunyamin Umar, Chun Keng Hong, Zamri Chin, Shahurain Abu Samah, Mohamad Syamsol Sabtu, Norshahrul Idlan Talaha, Mohamad Zaquan Adha Abdul Radzak, Mohamad Aidil Zafuan Abdul Radzak, K. Thanaraj, Tengku Qayyum Ubaidillah, Azamuddin Mohd Akil, Mohd Farizal Marlias, Mohd Nasril Mat Nourdin, S. Subramaniam, Azi Shahril Azmi, Mohd Azrul Ahmad, Bobby Gonzales, Mohd Safee Mohd Sali, Mohd Amirulhadi Zainal, Safiq Rahim, Syed Adney Syed Hussein, Kamarul Afiq Kamaruddin, Mohd Nizam Abu Bakar, Mohd Nor Farhan Muhammad.

New Straits Times

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