BY OOI KIN FAI Follow on Twitter
Despite coming away with only a 0-0 draw against Singapore, there was at least one pleasing aspect from the Malaysian standpoint - the new defence. The new defence comprised of Nazirul Naim, Shahrul Saad, Khairul Helmi/Shahrom Kalam and of course, Rizal Ghazali.
The Kedah right back made his international bow in that Singapore match and with the international retirement of S. Kunanlan, looks to have a fighting chance to be part of the squad for the AFF Suzuki Cup in November.
The 24-year-old is an ever-present starter in the Kedah team that has so far finished 3rd in the Super League and could still win the Malaysia Cup this season. All in all, Rizal's resume bears the hallmark of the term "consistency".
Yet against Singapore, Rizal struggled in the opening period when his nerves got the better of him but improved gradually, the longer the match went. A sign of a cool head that he managed to find his composure again during the match. Speaking before the start of training session on Sunday, Rizal explained those moments.
"I was nervous during the first 10 minutes but the confidence was there. For me, I'm still not satisfied yet. If the coach gives me another chance, I will definitely do better."
When asked further, Rizal was humble enough to know that he still has to continue to work hard if he wants to be part of the Harimau Malaysia team participating in the upcoming AFF Suzuki Cup.
"I can't say for sure. I feel 50/50 because there are a lot of players. I will fight for my place but it depends on how my performance is come squad naming time."
There will be futher opportunities for Rizal to show that he can continue to improve when Malaysia take on Afghanistan in an international friendly on Tueday 11th Oct 2016.