M’sian players must play in foreign leagues to qualify for 2026 World Cup
SHAH ALAM - At least 20 Malaysian players must play in foreign leagues in order for Malaysia to qualify for the 2026 World Cup.
Former Selangor Team Manager Zakaria Ab Rahim said the Malaysian players must play the foreign leagues because, from that, they would gain more knowledge and get out of their comfort zone such as Safee Sali who was a Malaysian footballer who played abroad and tried to get trial in Germany.
"But after two years of managing him, a few clubs tried to get him back to Malaysia because, in my opinion, if we want Malaysia to go to the World Cup, we have to put Malaysia as among the ten best teams in Asia.
“It must also be consistent," he said on Sinar Daily’s live show The Footy Forum: The Last Eight.
He also said that the local players started at a very young age, they performed because they were very comfortable.
"I've managed players, a few players, professional players, and they are very comfortable, so that's why our local players, when they are at a very young age, perform very well," he said.
However, he pointed out that some footballers, once they earned money as professionals would begin to see the reality where they started to have girlfriends, assets, cars which ended up would weaken their careers.
When asked about the Asean Football Federation (AFF), he expressed his opinion that the players ranked the nation as number two the most important.
"Today, call out for the AFF; almost all the best players don't want to come for the training; they put the nation at number two.
"We used to be champion in AFF (in 2010) but we are not number one in Southeast Asia," he added.
Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines were always at the top rather than Malaysia on AFF.
The Footy Forum is an online football forum hosted by Rizal Hashim and broadcast live through the official Facebook page of Sinar Daily.