Speedy Tigers forward Faizal sad but accepts Arul's decision

KUALA LUMPUR: Experienced forward Faizal Saari remains committed to the Speedy Tigers, despite being dropped from A. Arul Selvaraj's squad for the Olympic Qualifier in Muscat on Jan 15-21 due to a gout problem.

Faizal, with 176 goals from 226 matches for Malaysia, is disappointed but accepts Arul's decision."I am sad that I am not in the squad," said Faizal, who has been a national team regular for the last 15 years.

The top three teams in Oman will qualify for the Paris Olympics in July."I have a gout problem. Although it will take me only two days to recover, coach Arul felt I was not fit enough to be in the team. There is nothing I can do about it," said Faizal, a national team member for the last 15 years.

"I don't want to make an issue. I accept it."I wish them all the best in Muscat. They are in top shape, and I am confident they will do their best to earn an Olympic ticket,

However, Faizal added: "I am still eager to don national colours. "I will work harder to return to the team, especially if they qualify for the Olympics."

For the record, Faizal represented Malaysia in the World Cup in 2014 (The Hague), 2018 (Bhubaneswar), and 2023 (in Rourkela and Bhubaneswar).Faizal made his senior team debut at the Champions Challenge II in Dublin in 2009 at 18 years old.

The 33-year-old was a member of the Malaysian squad that won the silver medals at the 2010 Guangzhou and 2018 Jakarta Asian Games. Arul believes his team have enough forwards to fill in Faizal's absence.

His options are Firhan Ashari, Shahril Saabah, Ashran Hamsani, Norsyafiq Sumantri and Azrai Aizad Abu Kamal.Malaysia are in Group A in the qualifier with China, Britain and Pakistan.

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