SAFEE Sali believes the gap between Malaysia and Middle Eastern teams has been narrowed, and beating Qatar in tomorrow's Asian Cup Group D Qualifying match will not be impossible in what could be K. Rajagobal's final game as national coach.Safee has not been in the starting line-up of late but the striker hopes to renew his partnership with Norshahrul Idlan Talaha in attack tomorrow.
"We are playing better football and there is not much difference between us and teams from the Middle East. Everyone is confident and determined ahead of this crucial match. I believe we can beat Qatar," said Safee after training at Wisma FAM in Kelana Jaya yesterday.
"I was down with an ankle injury and did not play in the 2-1 defeat to Qatar in Doha in the first round.
"We could have avoided defeat in that match as Qatar's goals were all from our mistakes. If we play a disciplined game, we will have a good chance on Tuesday (tomorrow)."
Safee admitted that he is unhappy with his current form, but he still hopes to return to the starting line-up tomorrow.
"I've been on the bench for a long time. I want to play but it is not for me to decide. The coach will pick the best players for this match.
"I am, however, mentally and physically prepared to give my best if given the chance. I really hope to play and deliver three points for the team," said Safee, who had a stint with Indonesia's Super League outfit Pelita Jaya for two years.
Safee is linked with a move from Johor's Darul Takzim to Selangor but the 29-year-old does not want to comment on that.
"I will go to any team who offer me the 'No 10' jersey," said Safee jokingly.
Safee, who started his professional career with Kuala Lumpur, chided National Sports Council director-general Datuk Seri Zolkples Embong on Instagram for criticising the team's 1-0 defeat to Bahrain recently.
According to a Bernama report on Saturday, Zolkples stated that the defeat to Bahrain was expected and that he never had high hopes about the national team.
In response to Zolkples' comment, Safee posted on Instagram: "Why not ask him to play? He only knows how to talk and criticise."
Rajagobal is only focused on the match and not about his future as the national team coach.
"I do not want to think about it as my focus is on the match. My players are determined to make an impression on Tuesday. I am unconcerned about other things except the team," said Rajagobal.
Centre-back Fadhli Shas, who did not play against Bahrain due to injury, is back in training but the other players, including S. Kunanlan, are carrying minor injuries.