Farizal bracing for tough fight to AFF 2018

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The Johor Darul Ta'zim custodian appreciates the intense competition for the goalkeeping spot in Tan Cheng Hoe's Malaysia squad for the Suzuki Cup.

Looking at the Malaysian season thus far, it is very hard to argue that the standout goalkeeper of the season has been Farizal Marlias. The Johor Darul Ta'zim keeper has come back from his AFC-imposed ban with a vengeance and is making up for lost times.

Recalled to the national team fold by Tan Cheng Hoe, it represents a big chance for Farizal to be part of the final squad that will compete in the year-end AFF Suzuki Cup.

The 32-year-old looked more experience and calm now having put the ill discipline of the AFC Cup match against Ceres Negros FC behind him.

"So far so good but I'm still not satisfied yet. In football, consistency is the key and because of that I can't rest on my laurels. I have to continually improve my game in order to challenge.

"I'm thankful that the coaches still trust me to be part of the national team but now it's about more hard work for me and hopefully together with my team mates we can produce good performances in the coming two games," Farizal told Goal.

For this squad, Farizal is competing against Melaka's Khairul Fahmi and Perak's Hafizul Hakim for the number one jersey. The latter two have been in previous Tan's squads and hence may hold a slight advantage over the JDT player.

Yet instead of lamenting on the competition, Farizal welcomes it and points to himself needing to work harder to fend off the challenged and finally claim the undisputed place in the starting line-up.

"It's an intense competition. There are a lot of good goalkeepers with Apek (Khairul Fahmi) and Hafizul Hakim doing very well. Don't forget that there's also Haziq (Nadzli) coming up. I will have to be fully committed to maintain my place," added Farizal.

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