Ali, Harith want to prove Malaysians are no pushovers in Japan

Ali Imran (centre left) and Harith Haiqal (centre right) at their send-off reception at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang, before boarding their flight to Japan. (FB pic)

SEPANG: Two National Under 18 (U-18) squad players, Ali Imran Sukari and Harith Haiqal Adam Afkar, who have been selected for the Asian Eleven programme from June 13-23 in Japan are out to prove that Malaysians are no pushovers when it comes to football.

Products of the National Football Development Programme (NFDP), they are among 21 players picked from ASEAN countries except for Vietnam to form an “All-Star” team.

Ali Imran, 17, said benefiting from the exposure, his mission was to prove to the world that Malaysian footballers were as good as those from the powerhouses.

“Alhamdulillah (thanks to Allah), we are very proud to be chosen and I hope to prove that the selection was justified whether in training or competition during the duration of the programme,” he told the media at the KL International Airport here before leaving for Japan tonight.

As for midfielder Harith Haiqal, also 17, he said their mission was to show that Malaysians were not “minnows”.

The highlight of the programme is the Asian Eleven battling it out with a Tohoku U-18 selection at the J-Village Stadium in Fukushima on June 22 for the JapaFun Cup.

Meanwhile, FA of Malaysia deputy president Datuk Seri Subahan Kamal, who was also present, said he hoped the duo would make best use of this golden opportunity and thanked the Japan Foundation Asia Center (JFAC) for the initiative.