Kelantan skipper Badri Radzi has not given up hopes of one day representing his country at international level.
Badri, who is highly regarded within the local footballing circles, has never played for Malaysia in an official match.
The former PDRM player had only worn the Malayan Tigers’ uniform once, albeit through a guest appearance. It was when he got picked by Harimau Muda’s Ong Kim Swee to be part of a Malaysian XI that took on English club Chelsea, and lost 1-0 in a pre-season friendly in Kuala Lumpur last year.
In the list of players released for Malaysia’s AFF Suzuki Cup preliminary squad last month, Badri’s name was once again omitted by Malaysia’s head coach Datuk K. Rajagopal. This, despite the Palong born midfielder’s success in captaining his home state to three domestic titles this season. In fact, all of Kelantan’s three goals in their 3-2 Malaysia Cup final win over ATM were created by Badri.
When asked by Goal.com Malaysia about his continuous absence from various national squads, Badri said, “That is Datuk K.Rajagopal’s decision.
"Personally, I’m not too disappointed because I respect the coach’s decision."
Nevertheless, the 30-year-old promised to play to the best of his ability if ever given a chance in the future."“But if I get called up, I’ll definitely give my best. You can be sure of that,” said the playmaker who is known to fans by his nickname, Piya.
For Bojan Hodak, Kelantan’s treble winning Croatian coach, it is high time his captain gets considered for national duty.
"Attacking wise, the creativity that Piya has, you don't find too many players in Malaysia who are better, or even with the same ability," said Hodak.
"For me, when you see Piya and Shakir play together, it’s clear they can do the same against top teams, like in the first half against QPR. So, both of them definitely deserve to be in the national team.
"This is my opinion. Rajagopal has his own and you have to respect that."
With Malaysia’s two consecutive friendly defeats in the last five days, the calls from football fans for Badri’s inclusion in the AFF Suzuki Cup squad are set to go up a notch, although it remains to be seen if Rajagopal will pay any attention to them.