PETALING JAYA: Newcomers Firdaus Saiyadi and Hafiz Ramdan could not believe their good fortune after receiving call-ups to the national team.
The duo were named in a 25-player trainee squad by national team coach Tan Cheng Hoe for the inaugural Airmarine Cup from March 20-23.
Perak midfielder Firdaus is making his comeback after serving a two-year ban following a doping offence in 2016.
He made seven appearances in the Malaysia Cup last season and helped the team to end a 12-year wait for silverware when they overcame Terengganu 4-1 in a shootout after a 3-3 deadlock in the final.
“I’m grateful for the chance .... I just made my comeback to football nine months ago after serving my suspension, so I didn’t expect to get a national call-up. I can’t wait to play for Malaysia,” said the 23-year-old Firdaus.
“I’m still very shocked by the call-up. There are a lot of good players who can play in my position, the competition is going to be very tough and I intend to do my best to impress the coach.
“I’m ready to compete with them (the regulars) ... I will show my abilities.
“My advantage is this is my first call-up and I’m so fired up to give my everything for the country.”
PKNP skipper Hafiz said he didn’t expect the call-up because his team are not doing well in the Super League. PKNP are 11th in the 12-team standings.
The 25-year-old added that he’s looking forward to playing with Pahang duo Mohamadou Sumareh and Matthew Davies in the national team.
“I’m very excited and shocked too, as my team have not been getting good results. My family have always wanted to see me play for the national team and my father had advised me to show my ability in training and not be shy,” said the Ipoh local.
“I hope I can mingle well with the team. I’m looking forward to playing with Matthew and Sumareh.
“In my opinion, they are good personalities.”