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Thursday October 31, 2013 MYT 5:18:00 PM
Thursday October 31, 2013 MYT 5:19:59 PM
by rajes paul
Brand ambassadors Safee Sali (left) and Lee Chong Wei at the 100Plus new launch in conjunction with Fraser & Neave Beverages Marketing Sdn Bhd’s 130th year celebration. - Bernama Photo
PETALING JAYA: It has not been one of his impressive football seasons but striker Safee Sali of Harimau Malaya is still hot property.
The 29-year-old Safee is wanted by local and foreign teams for next season and with the good faith others have in him, the former AFF Cup topscorer has promised to bounce back stronger.
“I have received many offers. Thailand and Indonesia want me to join them. Many local teams have also approached me,” said Safee, who is currently playing with Johor Darul Takzim (JDT) on loan from Indonesian side Arema-Pelita FC.
Thailand’s Suphanburi FC based in Bangkok wants to seal the deal badly with him while Arema-Pelita wants him to play with them again after his contract with them ends in February.
Safee, who played for JDT in the Super League this year, said that several other local sides were also waiting to snap him up, including Kelantan and Selangor.
“I have not made any decision yet though. I have a contract with JDT until November and with my club in Indonesia until February and I hope to honour these contracts first. I will decide after that. For now, I am discussing and looking into all possibilities.”
Safee said his criteria to choose his future team was simple and straightforward.
“Of course, I want to play in the first 11. And it is important for my future team to be be able to play in the AFC league. It must be in a regional league of high calibre. I want it to be a huge challenge for me.”
Safee agreed that he had been quite toothless this season – mainly due to injuries. In fact, he missed the action when Malaysia drew 1-1 with Bahrain in the 2015 Asian Cup Group D qualifiers.
The Tigers will play Kuwait on Nov 8 and followed with Bahrain in Manama on Nov 15, before hosting Qatar four days later.
“It is not a good year for me – neither in the national team or at club level. I have not given up hope and I’m still trying my best to support my team. I think, we still have a chance for the Asian Cup qualifiers,” he said.
“We have taken one point here (the draw) and there is a lot of confidence ahead of the second-leg match against Bahrain. Then, there is a match against Qatar. I believe we have a good team to challenge our rivals.”
When asked about the uncertainty surrounding the Tigers’ national coach K. Rajagopal and whether it was a distraction for the national team from giving their best in the Asian Cup, he said: “I am really confident with the national team. Whether our coach’s contract is extended or whether the management are looking for a new coach, these issues will not disrupt our focus. We are single-minded in giving our best in training and competition.”
On who will win this Sunday’s Malaysia Cup final at the Shah Alam Stadium, Safee flashed a big smile and said: “I reckon that the match will go into extra-time. Kelantan have the experience. If Obinna (Nwaneri) is not fielded, I believe Pahang have a good chance. My choice is Pahang ... it will be a close victory for them, maybe with a score of 2-1.”
On Thursday, Safee and world No. 1 shuttler Lee Chong Wei, who are the 100Plus brand ambassadors, showed up for the isotonic drink’s new launch in conjunction with Fraser & Neave Beverages Marketing Sdn Bhd’s 130th year celebration in Sunway.
Tags / Keywords:
football, Safee Sali, Lee Chong Wei, 100Plus, Johor Darul Takzim, JDT, Arema-Pelita FC
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