Scrum-half Muhammad Faridzal Ismail (left) in training with his team-mates at National Sports Council, Bukit Jalil. - SIA HONG KIAU/The Star
KUALA LUMPUR: Size does not matter. Muhammad Faridzal Ismail stands at only 1.63m but he fears no one on the pitch.
The 25-year-old scrum-half is ready to face bigger and stronger players when he represents Malaysia in the rugby Sevens at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games from July 23-Aug 4.
“People always think I’m too small for rugby. But size is not important. What’s important is the passion, fitness and a whole lot of guts.
“I do not fear playing against bigger physique players. I may be small but I have the capability to tackle the big guys,” said Faridzal, who has been representing Malaysia since 2011.
Faridzal’s prowess on the field is well known on the local front. At the Agong’s Cup last year, the Keris Conlay club player was named the Most Valuable Player.
He was also named the best player at the in the Indonesian Open in Jakarta last year. He was then playing for Indonesian side Komodo 10s.
At the Games, Malaysia are in Group C with Samoa, Wales and Papua New Guinea. Defending champions New Zealand, Barbados, Canada and Scotland are in Group B while Group C has South Africa, Kenya, Cook Islands and Trinidad and Tobago. England, Australia, Sri Lanka and Uganda are drawn in Group D.
Said Faridzal: “We’re in a tough group. Samoa and Wales were the semi-finalists at the last Games (in New Delhi in 2010) . We will try our best to narrow the points gap. Our aim is to beat Papua New Guinea, but it won’t be easy.”
For Malaysian coach Yusli Ramli, he hopes the team will win at least a match.
In New Delhi, Malaysia lost all their matches to finish last in the 16-team competition.
“We aim to be among the top 12 this time,” said Yusli.
As part of the run-up to the Games, Malaysia will feature in the Singapore Open, which begins tomorrow.