CALL TO ARMS: Striker urges teammates to beat Sri Lanka and boost Malaysia's ranking
SAFEE Sali is focused on winning matches with the national team rather than scoring goals for his own individual tally.
The striker is determined to help Malaysia improve their world ranking and also end their seven-match winless streak. Safee will have a chance to make an impression when Malaysia play their second international friendly of the year against Sri Lanka on Saturday at Shah Alam Stadium.
"We must win this match. I am focused on winning. If I score then I would be happy but it is not my priority," said Safee.
"It does not matter who scores as what is important is that we beat them. I've not played at Shah Alam Stadium for a long time, so I am raring to return and play in front of the fans since our 2-0 win over Hong Kong last year."
Malaysia must win to avoid further embarrassment following their 1-1 draw with the Philippines in their only other international in Manila on Feb 28.
The failure to play matches regularly led to Malaysia falling four spots to 156th in Fifa's latest world rankings.
National coach K. Rajagobal stressed that it is important to get a good result on Saturday.
"There is no reason for us not to win as Sri Lanka are ranked below us. This match will also give me the opportunity to test some of the uncapped players," said Rajagobal at Wisma FAM in Kelana Jaya yesterday.
"I want them to give their best and play better than what they did against the Philippines. We need to start winning again to boost our confidence for the AFF Cup."
The national players reported for training last Friday but Safee, who plays for Pelita Jaya in the Indonesia Super League, will only join the squad tomorrow.
Rajagobal will drop two players from his 26-member training squad on Friday for the friendly.
"I want to see consistency from the regulars while the newcomers must show me they have the ability to play international matches. I want a big pool of players to choose from for the AFF Cup."
The local fans, mainly those from the 'Ultra Malaya' group, have been criticising the national team's sub-par performances of late and blamed the FA of Malaysia (FAM) for it. They are often heard singing songs with lyrics criticising FAM, in local M-League matches.
So to regain the support and trust of the fans, the national team must beat Sri Lanka at all cost on Saturday.