Safiq Rahim likely to return for Malaysia along with JDT teammates

The return of the former skipper is expected to boost the national team.

Safiq Rahim
Safiq Rahim (C) had earlier hinted about international return Reuters

Safiq Rahim, along with Johor Darul Ta'zim teammates S Kunalan, Amirulhadi Zainal and Aidil Zafuan are likely to comeback from retirements and return for Malaysian national team following the appointment of Johor Crown Prince Tunku Sultan Ismail, also known as TMJ, as president of Football Association of Malaysia (FAM).

The Malaysian Super League club hinted their comeback with a post on their Facebook page, in which all the four players along with TMJ pose for a photograph with caption "Welcome back...". Notably, the former Malaysian captain along with the other then mainstays shockingly retired from the national team in July 2016, saying they needed to give the younger players a chance.

However, it was believed that the 29-year-old, with 68 caps, along with his teammates retired due to a tussle between JDT and the Football Association of Malaysia.

The return of their influential players will certainly boost the national team's performances, which has been below-par since their retirements. The Tigers, under former coach Ong Kim Swee, won only two games out of eight they played in that period and were ousted from AFF Suzuki Cup 2016 as early as in the group stages itself.

Meanwhile, it is still unclear if the players will join new coach Mario Gomez's unit before the AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers, starting 8 April.

TMJ though conceded that it will be difficult for the national team to produce positive results immediately and that replicating JDT's success at the international level will also take time for the Malaysian football team. However, the 32-year-old assured that there will be improvement and also requested support from media and fans.

""It would be difficult to get the same results as JDT, because there they are all selected professionals by me. In FAM, it is a different structure and working environment," TMJ said, as quoted by ESPN.

"But I can assure you, there will be progress, there will be improvement. To do that, I have to urge change and educate my executive committee members. The media also have to help me by educating the fans."