UKM skipper and trainee teacher Hafizuddin considering unpaid leave to turn professional

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Having guided UKM to Malaysia Premier League promotion, team captain Hafizudin Sulaiman is willing to do what it takes in order to fulfill his dreams.


BY        ZULHILMI ZAINAL       Follow on Twitter


After helping his side defeat Shahzan Muda in their FAM Cup semi-final clash and win promotion to the 2018 Premier League, UKM FC captain Hafizudin Sulaiman told the press that he is considering turning professional next season.

On Sunday, university club UKM defeated Shahzan Muda 1-0 (aggregate 1-0) in their second leg semi-final match at the UKM Mini Stadium, to book a spot in the final and secure promotion to Malaysia's second tier. They will become the second university side to take part in the M-League, after UiTM FC.

The Varsity Boys were made to endure a nervy start in the second leg which dragged into extra-time, but Faidzol Fazreen Shamsudin settled the tie with a headed goal in the 110th minute.

Speaking to the press after the match, the 27-year old said that they could not play well at the beginning because they were too cautious in avoiding conceding an away goal.

"Both sides played cautiously in the full 90 minutes, but for UKM it was because we did not want to let in an away goal.

"We had to play safe and that meant our tactics did not work. It's better for us to play defensively than to go on the attack.

"And when we were down to 10 men in the extra-time (due to injury and lack of available substitution), I told my teammates to move as a unit. Praise Allah, we got the goal later," explained Hafizudin.

When asked about his future, the trainee teacher said that his sacrifice had been repaid by the promotion, and that he is thinking of taking some time off from his teaching, to play fulltime. 

According to an earlier report by StadiumAstro, Hafizudin, who is studying at the university to be a teacher, is currently undergoing student teaching at a school in Sekinchan, a town some 130 kilometers away from Bangi, where the university and the team are based, and has to commute almost everyday in order to attend training back at the UKM campus.

"My nine-month sacrifice from the beginning of the season, having to commute for about two hours daily, has finally paid dividends. The promotion and final spots are what we've always wanted.

"Playing at the higher level is what I've always dreamt of. I will definitely consider taking an unpaid leave from teaching, in order to fulfill that dream," remarked Hafizudin.

However, the skipper's job in the third tier is not finished yet. Having booked a place in the final against the other semi-final and promotion winners Sime Darby, Hafizudin will want to lead UKM in capping the brilliant 2017 season with the FAM Cup title. UKM will host the first leg of the final on October 15, while Sime Darby will host the return fixture on October 22. 

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