BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
Malaysia U-19's training session on Sunday was held at a public pitch just 500 metres away from AFC U-19 Championship hosts Indonesia's national stadium the Gelora Bung Karno, where Indonesia U-19 were scheduled to face Qatar U-19 in their Group A match on the same evening.
Understandably, the arrangement initially appeared quite dubious, given what had transpired the last time Bojan Hodak's charges were in the country.
Thankfully, nothing untoward happened throughout the Young Tigers' training session. In fact, one of them even attracted the attention of the local fans, including a group of Indonesian AC Milan fan club members who were having a kickabout on the next pitch.
It was not striker Hadi Fayyadh Abdul Razak's first time in Indonesia. This year alone he had been in the country twice, winning the AFF U-19 Championship under Bojan Hodak in July, before playing with the U-23 squad in the Asian Games two months later.
And on Saturday, the 18-year old had scored Malaysia's only goal in their 2-1 defeat to Saudi Arabia, and perhaps for this reason he was recognised by the local fans, who approached him for photos after training, which he obliged.
Malaysia U-19 training on Sunday
Goal then asked the free agent, who recently has been attending trials with second tier Japanese clubs, about his thoughts on a possible club career in Indonesia.
"Indonesia is really fanatic, crazy even, about their football. I'd love to play for an Indonesian club, being backed by a strong crowd, which is something we don't really get back home. Even U-19 tournaments here pull in massive, fanatical support and that's something I enjoy seeing.
"I am definitely open to the idea of playing here. Who knows, I can be the next Safee Sali!" commented Hadi, referring to the former Malaysia striker's stints with Indonesian sides Pelita Jaya and Arema Cronus.
Perhaps a move across the Melaka Straits next season is just what the striker needed, after being cut from the Malaysian champions Johor Darul Ta'zim set-up recently.
Just as Hadi and his teammates were embarking on the team coach, the home fans inside Gelora Bung Karno erupted in a cheer. Thirty minutes remained before the kick-off for the match between Qatar and Indonesia. If he continues performing well in the AFC U-19, maybe next year some of the same fans will be cheering for Hadi Fayyadh.
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