FOOTBALL: 'All hush-hush among JDT players'

As published in Malay Mail Afternoon E-Paper yesterday

By Haresh Deol

PETALING JAYA - A cloud of uncertainty hovers over Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) after four players turned their backs on the national team.

An insider said there has been utter silence among players regarding the issue since Aidil Zafuan Abdul Radzak first announced he was quitting through the Johor Southern Tigers Facebook page on Tuesday. The others who followed suit were Safiq Rahim, S.Kunalan and Amirulhadi Zainal.

None of them have spoke to the media about their decision.

"Some of the players are clueless as to what is going on, why this is happening," said the insider.

"Since those who quit aren't talking about it, others feel it's not in their place to ask. They rather lay low since it has nothing to do with them."

The insider said some are unsure of what they should do if they receive a call-up from Datuk Ong Kim Swee.

"If given a chance to play for the national team, of course they would ... but they're in a predicament. It's not like the nation has a large pool of talent. And the best are at JDT," he added.

"Some don't seem to agree with what's going on. Will they voice out? That's another question."

Eleven JDT players - including the four who quit - don the national colours.

The others are Izham Tarmizi, Mahalli Jasuli, Fadhli Shas, Fazly Mazlan, S. Chanthuru, Junior Eldstal and Amri Yahyah.

In the friendly against Fiji last month, eight of the first XI were JDT players. The game ended 1-1.

If all 11 quit, Ong would be left with only three defenders manning the fort.

Local players have not been scoring regularly in the Super League, with Selangor's R. Gopinathan topping the list with five goals.

JDT owner Tunku Ismail Ibrahim, had in a statement yesterday, said several players met him and sought his views on leaving the national team. He told them "whatever their decision, they have my support."

He also said: "I can assure you I'll do whatever it takes to kill corruption in Malaysian football and those who are responsible."

FA of Malaysia and Ong have not responded to the latest resignations and Tunku Ismail's comments.


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