KUALA LUMPUR: Safee Sali is the first local professional football player to start his own non-fungible token (NFT) while still active in the game.
The Kuala Lumpur striker launched the SEPULUH NFT, a series of 10 limited edition digital collectables that will go on auction via the digital NFT marketplace OpenSea.
The 38-year-old collaborated with Prime Sports NFT, a sports NFT division under Prime Sports International (PSI), to launch the token at the Quill Mall here yesterday.
Safee, who played for Malaysia 76 times and was instrumental in helping Harimau Malaya win the AFF Suzuki Cup in 2010, said he was keen on exploring the digital world during the Movement Control Order (MCO) period.
“It was planned well and I was always keen on exploring NFTs. I felt that was the best way for me to connect with the fans and do something to zest up the football industry here in Malaysia,” said Safee.
“My vision for SEPULUH is to capture my fondest memory in the Harimau Malaya jersey via digital art and enable fans to own a piece of my story as a collectable.
“My fans have been the pillar of support throughout my career and the SEPULUH NFT opens the doors to forging closer bonds with them.
“Plus, I do not want to be left behind in the digital world. If there is something new, I would want to tap into it. I’ve to be forward-thinking.”
SEPULUH NFTs also include a partnership with the Professional Footballers Association of Malaysia (PFAM), where a portion of the proceeds will be donated and channelled towards promoting, advancing and protecting the interest of professional footballers in Malaysia.
Safee, who is the president of PFAM, also said he wants to inspire footballers to not just think about the game but also look to diversify themselves in order to survive.
“There is more to football. There are other ways to grow your name. By introducing this NFT, I want to show players that they should not narrow their direction in the sport.
“From football, you can start a business, be a coach, go into the digital world and do other things.
“Our life is not just training and matches. It should be more than that.”
Fans will have the opportunity to bid to become exclusive owners of 10 NFTs that will unlock unique benefits for its owners, including an exclusive, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to share the pitch with Safee himself, a framed print-out of the NFT and access to a private community channel for members.
The NFT designs were done by local artist Nicholas Chuan who worked hand-in-hand with Safee to design the collection.
Hailing from Penang, the 20-year-old artist carries a portfolio of illustrations for world-renowned organisations such as UEFA, Formula One’s Red Bull, Liverpool and Bayern.
The inspiration behind the SEPULUH stems from Safee’s recollection of his crowning achievement as he led Malaysia to their first-ever AFF Suzuki Cup in 2010 and went on to earn a Golden Boot as the top scorer of the competition that year.
The NFT depicts Safee’s iconic celebration at the peak of his career, which still remains one of his greatest feats on the international stage.