BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
Previously under pressure Malaysia U22 forward Jafri forward signalled his threat to the hosts' possible SEA Games semi-final opponents, when he scored a brace in Malaysia's 3-1 win over Laos on Wednesday, in their final Group A match.
Following a poor performance against Brunei in their 2-1 campaign opener win, the Pulau Pinang player was benched by head coach Datuk Ong Kim Swee in their 2-1 win against Singapore. He then came on as a second half substitute against Myanmar, and provided the assist to Malaysia's third goal in the 3-1 win.
Against Laos at the Shah Alam Stadium, Jafri, returning to the starting line-up once again, opened the scoring in the 26th minute, before adding his second of the night and in the tournament in injury time.
The win made sure the hosts qualified to the semis as group leaders, to face the yet to be decided Group B runners up on Saturday.
When met by the press following the win, Jafri expressed his relief at finding his groove again, although he admitted that the battle for a place in the starting line-up between him and Malaysia's other forwards is close.
"Praise Allah, I'm satisfied with my performance tonight as I managed to score two goals. Against Brunei I didn't play well, and tonight I got to do better.
"But I have to do more. I've scored two and made one assist so far (in the tournament), but I believe I can perform even better than tonight.
"I'm not sure though about my chances (in the starting line-up), all six strikers are in form. We have to see what the coach decides," he explained.
When asked about Malaysia's possible opponents in the semis, the 20-year old revealed that his focus is on rivals Indonesia, whom they recently defeated 3-0 in the AFC U23 Championship qualifiers in July.
"I believe that Indonesia will be a changed team from the qualifiers. If we meet them in the semis they will keep pressing us and we have to keep composed," noted Jafri.