2023 Asian Cup qualifiers: Shahrul determined to bring fighting spirit to national squad

PETALING JAYA: Defender Shahrul Mohd Saad is determined to continue his form in helping Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) excel in the Asian Football Confederation Champions League (ACL) with the national squad ahead of the 2023 Asian Cup qualifiers, next month.

Shahrul, who called on his teammates not to be intimidated by other teams in the 2023 Asian Cup qualifiers, said he believed that it was not impossible for Harimau Malaya to pull off a surpirse like JDT, which beat several top teams to make history as the first Malaysian club to advance to the last 16 of the ACL.

“Personally for me, it (JDT’s success in ACL) is an experience that I can’t describe to be with such a club, and it is indeed the best achievement in my career.

“I hope to share my experience with other (national) teammates and give the same commitment to the national squad, and do my best in the 2023 Asian Cup qualifiers,“ he told reporters when met at a training session here today.

Shahrul, who is better known as ‘Badak’, said he was confident that Malaysia’s chances to qualify for the 2023 Asian Cup looked bright with the advantage of playing at home during the qualifying round later.

“I hope we can use this opportunity to the best to win, because apart from playing at home, other teams may also find it difficult to adapt to the field and weather conditions here,“ he added.

Meanwhile, midfielder Muhamad Nazmi Faiz Mansor said he was optimistic that the presence of many supporters at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium would be able to ignite the spirit of the team.

“We may not get another opportunity like this again, so I hope all players give 100 per cent commitment for us to advance to the final round of the 2023 Asian Cup,“ he said.

The Harimau Malay are scheduled to meet Brunei (May 27) and Hong Kong (June 1) in friendlies before participating in the qualifiers here from June 8-14.

They will face Turkmenistan on June 8, followed by Bahrain (June 11) and Bangladesh (June 14) in Group E of the competition.-Bernama