PETALING JAYA: Perak may boast the likes of young guns Mohd Azrai Aizad and Mohd Haziq Samsul in attack but they can’t ignore seasoned campaigner Hafifihafiz Hanafi if they want to lift the Razak Cup.
At 33, Hafifihafiz still possessed the killer instinct of a poacher and his services will be valuable to guide Azrai and Haziq.
With the tournament being a platform to impress new national coach S. Arul Selvaraj, one would think that the former national player would be staking a claim for a return to the squad.
But Hafifihafiz dismissed the thought as he believes it is time to give younger players the chance.
“This year’s Razak Cup will be more challenging because I’m sure all players want to impress the new coach, ” he said.
“I just want to give my best and help my state win the title. And I’m not available for the national squad because I have work commitments.
“It’s time we give the younger faces the opportunity.
“It is good for the national team in the long run.”
Hafifihafiz last donned national colours at the World Cup in The Hague, Holland, in 2014.
For the tournament, star-studded Perak will parade national players Haziq, Meor Azuan Hassan, Azrai, Najib Abu Hassan, Mohd Ashran Hamsani and Syed Syafiq Syed Mohd Cholan and former internationals like Hafifihafiz, Shazril Irwan Nazli and Sukri Mutalib.
Ahead of the tournament, they beat Pahang twice and Police once.
And Hafifihafiz is now more optimistic of their chances.
“I have confidence that we can win it. The juniors and seniors have mixed well and our spirit, discipline and combination are second to none. Our threat will come from Kuala Lumpur and Terengganu.”
Perak, winners in 2018, will kick off their campaign against last year’s runners-up Johor on Friday.
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