Hafiz adds goals to his weaponry
LionsXII fullback also contributes to attack with 5 goals in MSL
LIONSXII v KEDAH
(Tomorrow, 7.30pm, StarHub TV Ch 112/205 & 76.25MHz)
He has gone about his work quietly and without fuss this season.
But there is no doubt Hafiz Abu Sujad has emerged as a key player for the LionsXII this season.
Despite playing mostly as a left back, he was the team's second highest scorer in their Malaysian Super League (MSL) campaign with five goals.
Only Faris Ramli, with eight, has a better tally.
Hafiz's steady performances have also earned him a starting spot in the national team, as he picked up his 19th and 20th caps while playing against Qatar and Syria recently.
"It has been a good season for me," he told The New Paper yesterday. "I've been playing regularly, scoring goals, and enjoying myself."
Despite his productive form in front of goal, the 24-year-old feels firmly at home as part of the LionsXII's back four.
"At the moment, I think left back is the position I'm most comfortable in, because the role is already set in my mind," he said. "Plus, I'm more a runner than a skilful player.
"I'm not like Faris, who is nippy and uses his skills to get away from opponents.
"I'm all about hard running. Knock a ball behind the defender and I'll chase it."
LionsXII coach Fandi Ahmad praised his fullback's contributions this term.
"I'm very happy with Hafiz's performances," said the 53-year-old.
"He works very hard for the team no matter if we play him in defence or midfield. He does it silently, no nonsense.
"His guts and determination have been very important for us."
Ahead of the LionsXII's Malaysia Cup Group A opener against Kedah FA tomorrow, Hafiz stressed the importance of getting a positive result in their first game.
"It's really important," he said.
"It would help us keep up our momentum and give us confidence to go on winning.
"We won our last MSL match of the season (3-0 against Sime Darby) and we want to keep the momentum going.
"We had a two-week break for the World Cup qualifiers, but the team have been back together for a few days and the thing we have to do now is gel again and prepare for what's ahead of us."
Having been part of the LionsXII since their first season in 2012, Hafiz also said the "unpredictable" nature of the Malaysia Cup means he and his teammates have to be at their best in every match.
"The Malaysia Cup is a very special tournament and teams are unpredictable," he said.
"Teams that don't do so well in the league often do very well in the Cup. We can't take any team, especially those like Kedah and JDT II, for granted.
"We have to try our best to take (all nine points) on offer at home.
"We can't depend on other teams for results to qualify for the next round... I've been in situations like that before, and it's not a nice feeling."
Support the LionsXII
Tickets for the LionsXII's Malaysia Cup games at the Jalan Besar Stadium - against Kedah (tomorrow), Terengganu (Sept 26) and Johor Darul Ta'zim II (Oct 17) - are on sale.
Grandstand tickets are available at $14 each, while gallery and King George's Stand tickets are at $8 each.
Gallery and King George's Stand tickets for concession holders are priced at $5.
Bundle packages for grandstand and gallery tickets for all three games are available at $36 and $21, respectively.
These prices do not include ticketing fees.
On-site ticket sales will take place 24 hours before matchday from 10am to 5pm at the north gate of the stadium, subject to availability.