Syafiq Ahmad reminds teammates to seize opportunity to play in Asian Cup
PETALING JAYA: National striker Muhammad Syafiq Ahmad has reminded his teammates that they cannot afford to drop any points in their last Group E match of the 2023 Asian Cup Qualifiers against Bangladesh tomorrow night.
The Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) player said the clash at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium tomorrow is a golden opportunity for the Harimau Malaya squad to qualify for the 2023 Asian Cup.
He said Malaysia had waited long enough to once again appear in Asia’s prestigious football championship, and if the national team missed out on this opportunity it would definitely be a big waste.
“We failed to even steal a point in our last match (against Bahrain), and the game against Bangladesh is our best opportunity to qualify for the Asian Cup because of our advantage of playing in the qualifiers as hosts.
“So, forget about past games and look to the future. This is our opportunity to qualify on merit,” he said at a pre-match press conference here today.
After two matches, Bahrain lead Group E with six points while Malaysia and Turkmenistan are in second and third spots respectively with three points each, and Bangladesh are last without any points.
Only the group champions and top five runners-up will qualify for the Asian Cup. Malaysia’s last appearance in the prestigious tournament was in 2007 when they co-hosted the event, but Malaysia have failed to qualify on merit since the 1980 Kuwait edition.
Based on the top five runners-up rankings after two matches, Malaysia are in fifth place while Thailand, Kyrgyzstan and India are in the top three with six points and the Philippines are fourth on four points.
“We must be wary of the results in other groups but what is more important is our game itself. If we win, insya-Allah we will move to the next stage,” said Muhammad Syafiq.
The 26-year-old player, who has only come in as a substitute in the last two games, is determined to prove his ability to help the team win if he is chosen to be in the first 11 tomorrow.
And commenting on a viral video of a young fan crying at the stadium after Malaysia lost 1-2 to Bahrain last Saturday, Muhammad Syafiq said he and his teammates would make amends for the sake of all Malaysians.-Bernama