SAFEE Sali is a prolific goalscorer for both club and country who went on to make a name for himself abroad after his AFF Suzuki Cup heroics.
And the irony is that he was signed up by an Indonesian club, Pelita Jaya, after he single-handedly destroyed their national team in the final.
Safee was on target twice at Bukit Jalil in the 3-0 win and scored the solitary goal in the 2-1 loss at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium. He also won the Golden Boot award with five goals.
During his time, Safee has scored a lot of great goals but one stood out and that was against Indonesia during that final in Bukit Jalil.
In the 72nd minute, Mahali Jasuli made a darting run and unleashed a cross and Safee soared high to send a header past Markus Harison.
“One would brush it off as just a header, but it was a dream finish. When I look back at the replays, I feel proud and to do it in front of your home fans, it was priceless. That goal summed up my rise in the tournament, ” said Safee.
“My life turned 180 degrees after the tournament. I never expected such fanfare. When I went to Indonesia, it was a dream fulfilled to play abroad.”
Safee joined Pelita Jaya for two years right after the tournament and made 46 appearances and scored 40 goals.
“Those Suzuki Cup memories are fresh in my memory. The goals, the celebrations, it was special. I can never ever forget them.
“Actually, at that time I didn’t feel like an important player. I just wanted us to win. When I started scoring, my confidence grew. “When I scored twice against Vietnam, I knew I could do something in the final. To become the main striker and bring the title home, it was an immense feeling.
“Sometimes, football does not make sense. You play your best game but don’t win it. Luck does play a role. Or at times, an individual can decide an outcome, just like I did in 2010.”