Monday, November 21, 2011

SEA GAMES: Apek Urges Teammates To Rise And Defend The Gold For Malaysians

JAKARTA, Nov 20 (Bernama) -- Malaysian goalkeeper, Khairul Fahmi Che Mat is urging his teammates to rise up from their fatigue and close the 2011 curtain by defending the gold medal in the football final of the 16th SEA Games against Indonesia tomorrow.

The final match would take place at 7pm local time (8pm in Malaysia) at Gelora Bung Karno Stadium, Senayan.

The match is likened to a repeat of the Indonesia-Malaysia match in the quarter-final where Malaysia won by a solitary goal before both teams qualified for the semifinals.

According to Khairul Fahmi, or Apek, if the win could be defended, the Under-23 football squad would bring the high morale created to the 2012 Olympic qualifying group contest two days later, against Syria at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium.

"I am only hoping all of us (players) can give a gold medal and defend the championship as a present to Malaysians," he told Bernama at the lobby of the hotel where the Malaysian squad are staying here, Sunday.

The Kelantan-born player said he believed his teammates could boost Malaysia's dignity to its highest level in front of the Indonesian fans who would provoke and taunt the Malaysians.

"We will not bow to their taunts and the boos will make us more enthusiastic to show them who is greater.

"What is important is focus. We do not want to lose the opportunity to touch gold because the Under-23 team is taking part in the games for the first time," he said.

He said the heat would be on him as Indonesia would strive to tear open the Malaysian goal through the attacking trio from Papua New Guinea: Patrick Wanggai, Titus Bonai and Oktovianus Maniani.

"I hope the people of Malaysia will pray that we succeed and I believe our defence is the best. Any mistake, and they will have a chance at goal," he said.

The 22-year-old goalkeeper said the 'never say die' spirit demonstrated when beating Indonesia and Myanmar must be maintained if victory were to be repeated against Indonesia tomorrow.

"We are quite tired after three matches with only a day of rest in between but winning the gold medal is our priority because we are shouldering a huge challenge for the country.

"Winning the football match is like winning the whole SEA Games and also upholding Malaysia's dignity.

Starting with the match against Indonesia at the final of Group A on Thursday, the squad then met Myanmar for the semi-final decider last night, and would meet Indonesia again tomorrow night.


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