Farizal started his Malaysia career back in 2009 and after 10 years, he is now one of senior statesmen in the team and for the matches against Nepal and Timor Leste, he will be leading from the front. The goalkeeper was handed the captain's armband in Zaquan's absence and it will be the first time he has held it since making his international bow.
These days it is not unusual to see the keeper becoming the captain as was shown by Manuel Neuer captaining Germany back in 2016. On the odd occasions in the past, Khairul Fahmi Che Mat also had the honour of leading out Malaysia in matches, as the captain.
But for Farizal, the role which significant does not alter what the team has to do on the pitch. Malaysia are looking to build up some sort of momentum in the friendly against Nepal on Sunday before the massive double header against Timor Leste in the World Cup/Asian Cup qualifiers.
"The captaincy isn't a big issue because in the team, there are several others who can also be called captain. What is important is the performance of each player. We know that to win we have to play at a high intensity. I see the players are giving a good commitment in training, so hopefully we can translate that to the actual game.
"First time I'm the captain of the national team and I'm honoured to be given this role by the head coach. I hope the players will give their cooperation to the team so that we can continue to improve and bring out standard to another level," said Farizal on Saturday.
Since returning from his ban, Farizal has undoubtedly been one of the most consistent players in the Super League and his performances in the 2018 AFF Cup also showed that he has become a key player in Cheng Hoe's team. His showing in the AFC Champions League for Johor Darul Ta'zim also proved that he is capable of mixing it up with the best in Asia.
Malaysia last faced Nepal back in 2008 in a friendly match where the former emerged 4-0 winners. In the six matches that Malaysia have played against Nepal, there has been five wins for Malaysia with the other match being a draw. Nepal has also never scored against Malaysia in any of those six matches.
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