PETALING JAYA: They say there is no shortcut to success. They are wrong. At least for the national football team this year.
Any footballer who wants to make the cut for the team has to impress Harimau Malaya as coach Tan Cheng Hoe in a big hurry.
Melaka’s goalkeeper Khairul Fahmi Che Mat knows that.
With just seven matches to be played when the Super League resumes, he realises that he needs to show quick results to achieve his 2020 target of playing for Malaysia again.
It will not be easy as he has to face competition from the likes of Farizal Marlias, Khairul Azhan Khalid, Hafizul Hakim and Ifwat Akmal Chek Kassim for the three spots in the national team.
The 31-year-old realises that seven games are a bit too short to be noticed.
“My target this year was to return to the national team, and the belief was there when I started the first four matches in the Super League, ” said the former Kelantan goalkeeper, who last played for Malaysia in the AirMarine Cup last year.
“However, the pandemic struck, and we have not played football in almost three months.
“Even when it returns, we will only have seven matches to prove our credentials.
“A lot of keepers are performing well in the league, and even the ones in the Premier League have potential to be in the national team.
“I leave it to the coach to decide, but I will work hard for the spot, ” added Khairul, fondly known as Apek by his teammates.
The scenario does not favour the Mousedeer as the team are in the relegation zone after the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) deducted three points for the team’s failure to follow financial plans they had submitted to settle their players’ arrears.
“We need more matches to gain momentum, and seven seems too small a number. But as a player, I will give it my all.”
Khairul also said the club were slowly settling their dues as they have paid salaries for January, February and March, and are working on solving dues for April and May.
“A decision has not been made on salary adjustments, but discussions have been going on.
“We understand the pandemic has complicated the situation, so we hope to reach an amicable solution soon.”
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