Irfan grateful to be called up, insists Malaysia U-22 need no extra guidance from overaged players

The Malaysia defender is eager to be given the chance to finally win the SEA Games football gold, two years after missing out on it at home.

BY        ZULHILMI ZAINAL       Follow on Twitter

Malaysia U-22 head coach Dato' Ong Kim Swee has revealed one of the overaged players that he may take to the 2019 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Manila next month along with the rest of the team.

Kuala Lumpur and Malaysia senior team defender Irfan Zakaria arrived for his first day of centralised training with the Young Tigers at Wisma FAM on Thursday.

When met by the press before training in the evening, the 24-year old defender expressed his gratitude towards the call-up, but insisted that his teammates do not need any special guidance from the overaged squad members.

"First of all, praise Allah, I'm grateful to have been selected to attend selection for to this year's SEA Games. It's an honour to be trusted to show what I'm capable of, when there are many better players. I'll give my 100 per cent.

"...I feel no pressure playing with these younger players because they have been progressing. And there is no such thing as junior and senior players out there on the pitch. We need to push each other," said the defender.

He also remarked that the call-up is a good chance for him to finally win the SEA Games gold medal, having missed out on it in his only SEA Games appearance. In the 2017 edition that was hosted by Malaysia, the hosts lost in the final.

"I was heartbroken at not winning the gold because we lost 1-0 to Thailand. If I am selected, God willing I'll win the gold this time around."

Kim Swee will announce the two overaged squad members on November 15. His charges have been drawn in Group A of the competition, alongside Myanmar, Cambodia, Timor-Leste and hosts the Philippines.

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