National footballer Azam Azmi determined not to lose in SEA Games opener against Thailand

Match-fixing appears to have blighted the development of Malaysian football. — AFP pic
Match-fixing appears to have blighted the development of Malaysian football. — AFP pic

KUALA TERENGGANU, May 5 — National footballer Muhammad Azam Azmi Murad is determined to ensure that Malaysia secures at least a point in their opening Group B match against Thailand at the South East Asian (SEA) Games in Hanoi this Saturday.

While acknowledging it was tough, the 21-year-old Terengganu FC (TFC) defender was confident and had high hopes that he could succeed in raising the standard of Malaysian football at the Games.

“It is very important for us to secure a point in our first match against Thailand as it motivate the squad for our second match against Laos on May 11.

“If we can win, it will be a bonus that will lift the team’s spirits and add to our momentum,” he said when contacted via Whatsapp.

Apart from Muhammad Azam, four other TFC players — Nik Akif Syahiran Nik Mat (midfielder), Muhammad Hairiey Hakim Mamat (defender), Syafik Ismail (midfielder) and junior goalkeeper Rahadiazli Rahalim — were also selected for the national Under-23 (B-23) squad, coached by Brad Maloney.

In addition, two Terengganu FC ll (TFC) players, Safwan Mazlan (midfielder) and Nur Azfar Fikri Azhar (striker), both 22, also made the cut.

Meanwhile, Muhammad Azam said he would use the experience he gleaned from playing with his club and the Under-18 squad to ensure that the country does not return empty-handed.

“The excitement of donning the national jersey and playing in a major tournament is really exciting, coupled with the presence of my many teammates as we take on the challenge of beating the War Elephants,” he added. — Bernama