Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Malaysian captain Safiq Rahim dropped for friendly against Australia

National coach Datuk K. Rajagopal has sent a strong message to the national players after dropping skipper Mohd Safiq Rahim from the training squad for the friendly against Australia in Canberra on Oct 7.

Rajagopal had been accused of favouritism after the national team were ousted 6-4 on aggregate by Singapore in the Asian Zone World Cup qualifiers in July.

Safiq is the surprise omission from the 26-man training list.

The others dropped were Amirulhadi Zainal, Ahmad Fakri Saarani, Sharbini Allawee Ramli, Rizal Fahmi Rosid, Shakir Shaari, S. Chanturu, Abdul Hadi Yahya, Ashaari Shamsudin and Ismail Faruqi Ashaari.

The trainees will report at Wisma FAM on Sept 28 and will undergo training until selection is made on Oct 4.

Rajagopal said the players had been dropped due to their poor performance in the ongoing Malaysia Cup competition.

He said that the message had always been there – “non-performing players will be dropped and the players understand this very well”.

“Players who are not in the training list this time have to prove to me that they want to return to the team.

“We have to remember that we still have time and we are preparing a strong team for the Asian Cup in 2015,” said Rajagopal.

“I’ll give all the players a fair chance and I believe that this is the right time to test the players against a strong side like Australia.”

Goalkeeper Farizal Marlias, Norhafiz Zamani Misbah and Mohd Khyril Muhymeen Zamri will be making a return to the team after recovering from their injuries and doing well in the Malaysia Cup.

Terengganu winger Joseph Kalang Tie and Harimau Muda’s Izzaq Faris Ramlan will be joined by first-timers Wan Zaharul Nizam Wan Zakaria, Syahrul Azwari Ibrahim, Muhammad Zubir Mohd Azmi and K. Reuben in the training squad.

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