Mukhairi takes the blame for Malaysia’s lacklustre display

PETALING JAYA: Withered, tattered and jaded – those were the feelings felt by Mukhairi Ajmal Mahadi (pic) after Malaysia bowed out of the AFC Under-23 Asian Cup without a win.

The 22-year-old playmaker had earned a reputation as a top prospect in midfield thanks to his performance for Selangor in the Super League and also for the Malaysia Under-23 team.

But the Malaysian captain has been far from his best in the Asian Cup challenge.

In all three matches he played for Harimau Muda, he looked devoid of ideas and some of his passes and touches were heavy, which is not what he or the people watching him are accustomed to.

On social media, he was derided for his performance with some questioning his credentials as a player.

Seeing those comments, Mukhairi certainly felt it and did not hold back his feelings on his whole tournament experience.

“I am really disappointed with myself. I truly am. This is my second AFC tournament and my last one for this age group. It’s not my day at all,” said Mukhairi.

“In this tournament, I was horrible. I wasn’t good enough. I was bad in all the games.

“Maybe this is not the tournament for me. I know many people do not like me. But it is okay.

“I hope this tournament and episode will make me a better player.”

Mukhairi said people needed to know that the team did not have much match fitness as the season has yet to start.

Though the Under-23 team played four friendlies before the tournament, Mukhairi said people need to know that league games are needed for them to be at a good level.

“We have not started the season yet. We don’t have good match fitness but people expect me to do well. They all think I am the only one on the field. But I will take responsibility since I am the captain,” he lamented.

Malaysia led by coach Juan Torres Garrido did not pick up any points in Doha as they lost all their three games against Uzbekistan (0-2), Vietnam (0-2) and Kuwait (1-2).

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