Monday, 2 January 2012

Safiq Rahim told to improve by Selangor coach

Malaysian national team captain Safiq Rahim has been told to buck up by Selangor coach Irfan Bakti Abu Salim for the new Super League season.

Irfan Bakti is unhappy with Safiq's performance in pre-season matches and the veteran coach is even considering resting the midfielder.

"Safiq is an excellent distributor of the ball but he must show his willingness to surge forward and also help out in defence," said Irfan Bakti.

"I want more from Safiq this season. He must impose himself in the penalty box. I will monitor his progress before deciding."

Safiq failed to make an impression last season and was criticised for his half-hearted performances.

The 24-year-old was at first hesitant to renew his contract after his three-year term expired in November but finally agreed to a new deal.

Irfan  is not afraid of resting Safiq as he has other options --  among them  national Under-23 player K. Gurusamy, Azidan Sarudin, Bunyamin Umar, Fitri Shazwan Raduwan, Solihin Kanasian Abdullah, Fazilidin Khalid and Adib Aizuddin Latif.

Safiq said he would not mind if he was dropped from the first team.

"No one is indispensable. If the coach is unhappy then I must try to improve to earn first team action.

"There are no stars in the Selangor team and I have realised that I need to work hard," said Safiq.

Selangor are looking to make a strong comeback in the upcoming season after a poor display in the last campaign.

The Selangor FA wants its team, under manager Datuk Mokhtar Ahmad, to win at least one title this season.

But the high expectations set by the association could well put  unnecessary pressure on the team and  Irfan.

Selangor's main target this season is the Malaysia Cup, a title which they have not won since 2005.

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