The last time Afif Amiruddin was involved with the national team, Malaysia made headlines all over the world. The 10-0 hammering handed down by United Arab Emirates (UAE) made the national team the butt of jokes throughout the footballing world but two year later, things are looking on the up for Kelantan-born central defender.
Following coach Dollah Salleh from Perlis to Pahang, Afif has come to the fore once again after helping Pahang to challenge for the Super League title this season with some commanding performances in the centre of defence for the Elephants.
Speaking before the national team training session at Shah Alam on Thursday evening, Afif recognises the second chance that he has been given and vows to work even harder to ensure that he doesn't have to suffer the same heartbreak as before.
"If can, I want to improve on the performance in my last time with the squad. I want to show that whoever falls down, as long as they work hard, they can come back to this level," said Afif.
Together with Shahrom Kalam, Shahrul Saad, Khairul Helmi, Fadhli Shas and Ronny Harun; Afif is one of the options for Datuk Ong Kim Swee to choose as the centre back partnership. However Afif points to another former national coach that has helped him to come back to the level he is at now.
"Coach Dollah always advises me to never give up and to continue to work hard. It is a bonus getting the call-up," added Afif.
Afif and the rest of the national team will depart for Philippines on Monday with the international friendly being the only match to be played in this international window, what with the Asian Cup qualifer against North Korea being moved to 8 June.