SEPANG – Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu (picture) has again apologised for his statement linking the “12th player” or fan support for Harimau Malaya to Malaysia’s loss to Bahrain in the 2023 Asian Cup football qualifier last Saturday.
Ahmad Faizal said the statement, made at an event in Ipoh, Perak, was reported by several media outlets and had been misunderstood.
”… I feel I need to apologise to all fans. I am also a fan and I think the important thing now is to continue giving undivided support to our team,” he told reporters after performing the groundbreaking ceremony for the Driving Experience Centre (DEC) at the Sepang Go Kart Circuit here today.
Yesterday, Ahmad Faizal’s statement went viral on social media after he allegedly said the cheering of local fans at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil was one reason the national team lost focus in their match against Bahrain and lost 2-1.
Meanwhile, when asked on Malaysia’s preparations for the 2023 SEA Games in Cambodia, Ahmad Faizal urged all sports associations to cooperate with the National Sports Council and start preparing for the biennial games now.
“We have seen our athletes’ performance at the recent Hanoi SEA Games, and the SEA Games in Cambodia are just some 10 months away.
“I think athletes who participated in Hanoi stand a chance to represent the country again. I hope they (sports associations) immediately take proactive steps on the ‘Road to Cambodia’ and focus on the training required,” he said.
On DEC, which is the first of its kind in Southeast Asia, he said it is a component of the five-year Strategic Business Plan for the Sepang International Circuit.
The facility on a 28-hectare site is to provide continued learning for drivers in Malaysia to make them more skilful in handling vehicles on the road. – Bernama