Safee Sali credits Rajagobal for reigniting career, eyes Malaysia call-up

Nicolas Anil Nicolas Anil

Sensing that his career has been reinvigorated in 2018, Safee Sali has called out to Malaysia head coach Tan Cheng Hoe to consider him for selection in the upcoming friendlies, and ultimately the AFF Suzuki Cup.

“Of course I want to be back with the national team. From July onwards, the national team are having many friendlies, and I hope to get selected for that,” Safee told FOX Sports Asia.

“But ultimately, I hope to receive a call-up to play in the AFF Cup. First, I must stay injury free to be back in national colours.”

2010 was one of the finest moments of Safee’s career, when he scored five goals to inspire Malaysia to their maiden AFF Cup title under the stewardship of Datuk K. Rajagobal.

Eight years on, both men are reunited at PKNS FC and flourishing in the Malaysia Super League (MSL).

Safee, for one, has regained his trademark tenacity and eye for goal this season.

He has already scored five goals in all competitions, and remains in the forefront of PKNS’ attacking nucleus that also includes Rafael Ramazotti, Faris Ramli and Bruno Oliveira.

The beefy forward, now sporting a ponytail, credits the coach fondly known as “King Raja” for helping him rediscover his form.

“I’m happy to be back with him, we have a good combination together. Coach Raja has good vision and he knows his players well. I think he has something to prove too, having started well so far,” he added.

“He has certainly brought our play to another level, and I want to continue with him.”

PKNS are nestled safely in the MSL mid-table. They also have a two-legged FA Cup semifinals against Selangor FA to look forward to later this month.

If Safee can help PKNS overcome the Red Giants to make the final, his stock is only bound to rise and Tan would have to take notice.

The national coach is preparing the Harimau Malaya for six friendly matches before they head to the AFF Cup in November.

Malaysia will play Fiji in Kuala Lumpur on July 5, before they face Chinese Taipei (September 7) in Taipei, Cambodia (September 10) in Phnom Penh and Sri Lanka (October 12) in Colombo.

After that, they return home to play Kyrgyzstan on October 16, before playing a yet-to-be decided opponent on November 3.

At the AFF Cup, Malaysia are housed in Group A alongside Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Myanmar.

Photo credit: PKNS Facebook