PETALING JAYA: National footballer Syahmi Safari turned up for national training three days after his newborn passed away.
The 23-year-old looked downcast but was hard at work to show his determination ahead of the World Cup 2022-Asian Cup 2023 qualifiers, scheduled in Dubai in June.
And his commitment won praises from national coach Tan Cheng Hoe.
“We are behind you Syahmi, ” said Cheng Hoe.
He was the only absentee when the national team reported for duty on Sunday.
Syahmi later shared a post on his Instagram story, revealing that he missed the first day of training due to his daughter Selma Rose Nayla’s death on Friday.
Cheng Hoe assured that Harimau Malaya would be there for the mercurial rightback, who plays for Selangor.
“It’s very sad when you lose someone, especially when it is your firstborn.
“We, the coaching staff and teammates, will support, encourage and motivate him, ” said Cheng Hoe.
“Teamwork comes first. I hope Syahmi will stay focused in training and understands the responsibilities that lie ahead of him.
“We will stick together to achieve our goal, which is to get to the Asia Cup.”
Meanwhile, Cheng Hoe said he was looking forward to two friendly matches against Bahrain and Kuwait when they start their centralised training in Dubai on May 20.
“The two friendlies will indicate how we will form the first eleven. We will see how these players adapt to the tactics and carry themselves on and off the field, ” he said.
“Each one in the team has an important role.
“We will evaluate and assess and make sure we get things right before our first match.”
Malaysia face United Arab Emirates on June 3.
“Our players have just returned to training after a few days break. Our training is not intensive yet, but it will gradually increase in the days to come.”