Thursday, 29 September 2011

Safee Sali wants to play in Australian league

Safee Sali has expressed a desire to play in Australia should a move to Cardiff City fail to materialise. The national striker returned to Kuala Lumpur yesterday after undergoing a two-week trial at the Welsh club where he impressed manager Malky McKay.

But Safee's hopes of landing a contract with the English Championship club could be stymied by red tape owing to England's stringent work permit requirements for footballers whose country is ranked outside of Fifa's top-70 list.

While not wanting to get his hopes up, the Pelita Jaya forward is already thinking of the A-League where the standard of competition is much higher than the Indonesian Super League.
"It has been an exciting and valuable two weeks in Cardiff where I learnt a lot which, hopefully, will make me a better player. The training there is much faster and more intense than what I've been used to and I hope to put into use what I've learnt into my next match," said Safee upon arrival at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport yesterday.

"I can't comment much on my situation with Cardiff as you all know the problems I'll have with getting a visa (work permit). It's out of my hands so we'll see what happens next."

Safee will be suiting up for his former side Selangor in the Sultan of Selangor's Cup exhibition against Singapore in Shah Alam on Saturday before joining the national team in preparation for a friendly against Australia on Oct 7.

That match in Canberra is where Safee hopes to impress watching scouts with an eye to earning an offer from one of the A-League's 10 teams.

"It would great to play in the A-League as it is a tough and strong league. If I get an offer, then it is definitely something worth considering. But all I can do is to try to play to my best and hope for something to turn up," said Safee, whose club Pelita Jaya's financiers, the Bakrie Group, has ties with A-League club Brisbane Roar.

Safee said he is excited at the prospect of pitting his skills against some of Australia's best players on Oct 7 and could even lead the side out in the absence of dropped skipper Safiq Rahim.

"We have not played Australia for so long so it would be really exciting to play against a player like Tim Cahill. As for the captaincy, it is the coach's decision but if I am given the arm-band, then it would be an honour," said Safee, who led Malaysia in the World Cup second round second leg Asian qualifier against Singapore when Safiq was suspended.

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