SEA Games 2011: A Tale of Four Forwards

Great goalscorers tend to specialise in ugly goals. The greatest goalscorer of them all, Gerd Müller, dealt in goals that were Elephant Man-ugly – and they were the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen. His body would splay into Twister positions before he struck the ball at goal; he would often scuff it almost apologetically past the goalkeeper and watch it dribble over the line; he would appear out of nowhere, as if from a puff of dust, to smuggle the ball in from a coupe of centimetres; sometimes he would score while on all fours, or hopelessly off balance.

The Guardian

In the absence of the highly capable but injury prone Wan Zack Haikal, the Malaysian under-23 team is frequently found to be severely wanting a prolific finisher. The 2011 SEA Games is the platform to see which one of these forwards can rise to the occasion and become the next Safee ‘Finisher’ Sali:

Name: Syahrul Azwari Ibrahim

Date of Birth (Age): January 12, 1993 (age 18)

Club: Harimau Muda A

Caps: 8 (under 23)

Goals: 5 (under 23)

Azwari was deployed at the flanks during the opening game against Singapore. Youngest of the four, but currently the most prolific.

Name: Thamil Arasu Ambumamee

Date of Birth (Age): July 4, 1991 (age 20)

Club: Harimau Muda A

Caps: 5 (under 23)

Goals: 1 (under 23)

Like his colleague Azwari, Thamil is yet to be capped at senior level.

Name: Izzaq Faris Ramlan

Date of Birth (Age): April 18, 1990 (age 21)

Club: Harimau Muda A

Caps: 12 (under 23), 5 (senior)

Goals: 1 (under 23), 0 (senior)

Targetman Izzaq has been capped at senior level, although rarely gets a start.

Name: Ahmad Fakri Saarani

Date of Birth (Age): July 8, 1989 (age 22)

Club: Negeri Sembilan

Caps: 16 (under 23), 15 (senior)

Goals: 1 (under 23), 0 (senior)

Oldest of the four, most capped but has yet to repay the faith in goals. Commanded the trust of senior coach, Datuk K. Rajagobal to start in the 2014 World Cup qualification loss at Singapore. Most remembered for scoring the injury time goal which sealed Malaysia’s come-back-from-the-death progress to the semi finals of the 2009 SEA Games, at the expense of 2007 champions Thailand.


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