Thursday, 9 January 2014 | MYT 4:40 PM
Irfan hopes to redeem himself by breaking into JDT team
A file picture of Mohd Irfan Fazail (left) and Mohd Fadhli Shas at their unveiling as Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) players for the 2014 season. Irfan hopes to put the SEA Games disappointment behind him and focus on helping his new team.
PETALING JAYA: National Under-23 football team skipper Mohd Irfan Fazail admitted that he’s still haunted by the team’s failure to defend their SEA Games gold medal in Myanmar last month.
The national Under-23 team under the guidance of coach Datuk Ong Kim Swee crashed out in the semi-final to Indonesia and returned empty-handed after they were beaten 2-1 by Singapore in the bronze medal playoff.
The 22-year-old midfielder took the brunt of the criticism from fans for the failure. Although it does bother him, Irfan is soldiering on.
The Pontian local, who will ply his trade with cash-rich Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) for the new season, said that JDT’s coach Cesar Ferrando Jimenez and Kim Swee have both advised him to move on.
“It’s a bitter pill for me and it’s hard to forget the failure in Myanmar ... I feel I have let the country down,” said Irfan.
“We all tried hard but it’s not meant for us to defend the title and I hope the other players who will be eligible for the 2015 SEA Games have learnt the lesson in Myanmar.”
Irfan will be joining JDT with his national Under-23 team-mates – defender Mohd Fadhli Shas and goalkeeper Mohd Izham Tarmizi Roslan.
JDT are expected to mount a serious challenge for honours in the upcoming season with national players like Safiq Rahim, Mohd Amri Yahaya, Mahali Jasuli and Norshahrul Idlan Talaha in the side.
The team have also been boosted by the arrival of two former Argentina players Pablo Aimar and Luciano Figueroa as well as Singapore national players Hariss Harun and Baihaikki Khaizan.
Irfan believes they have a formidable squad and he has set himself the target of breaking into the starting XI.
“It’s great to have my close friends Fadhli and Izham with me ... we have a daunting task to break into the team,” said Irfan, who started training with JDT last week.
“I relish the challenge and the opportunity to learn from the established players in the team. I’m really looking forward to playing alongside a world class player like Aimar.”