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NST Online: Sports


Sportcheck: Safee lights up Pelita

Posted: 25 Apr 2011 05:26 PM PDT

2011/04/26
Ajitpal Singh
ajitpalsingh@nst.com.my


  Tune Talk’s chief executive officer   Jason Lo (left) watches  Safee Sali balancing the ball after being appointed ambassador of Tune Talk  in Kuala Lumpur yesterday. — Picture by  Fariz Iswadi Ismail.

Tune Talk's chief executive officer Jason Lo (left) watches Safee Sali balancing the ball after being appointed ambassador of Tune Talk in Kuala Lumpur yesterday. — Picture by Fariz Iswadi Ismail.

NATIONAL striker Safee Sali is making waves with Pelita Jaya in the Indonesian Super League.

Safee, who signed a one-year contract with Pelita, has scored five goals in eight appearances so far for his new club.

The 27-year-old now enjoys iconic status in Indonesian football after his exploits with Pelita.


"I am so famous that football fans in Indonesia want a piece of me. I can't even walk down the street without someone recognising me," said Safee, after being appointed ambassador of Tune Talk, in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

"I'm recognised wherever I go. Fans come up to me wanting autographs and pictures. It's difficult sometimes but I like the attention."

Safee, whose contract with Pelita is until next February, said his current stint in Indonesia has helped him improve his playing skills.


"The Indonesian Super League is tough because it has so many good foreign players. Even the local players are great, and I've become a better player.

"The league is more competitive than the M-League. Although I've scored five goals so far, I am not too happy with my performance. I want to contribute more for my club in the remaining six matches before the season ends in June," said Safee, who was instrumental in Malaysia winning the AFF Cup last December.

Safee, however, is now in a fix as Pelita are not keen to release the striker for international duty on June 3.


The FA of Malaysia has unofficially included Safee for the friendly against Hong Kong in preparation for the World Cup Asia Zone Qualifiers.

Pelita have a crucial tie against Persija two days after the international friendly.

"I am aware of it but I am leaving it to FAM to negotiate my release. Right now, I have not received anything official from national coach K. Rajagobal," he said.

"But I also understand Pelita's predicament as they need my services for the important match."

Safee also hinted he may return to don Selangor colours in the Malaysia Cup after the completion of the Indonesian Super League in June.

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Badminton: Contrasting paths for trio

Posted: 25 Apr 2011 05:23 PM PDT

2011/04/26
K.M. Boopathy
boopathy@nst.com.my


Chong Wei is not expected to face problems advancing in the absence of fierce rival Lin Dan.

Chong Wei is not expected to face problems advancing in the absence of fierce rival Lin Dan.

LEE Chong Wei and men's doubles Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong have a common goal -- to win the India Open which begins in New Delhi today -- but they are likely to take contrasting paths to achieve their goals.

Chong Wei is not expected to face problems advancing in the absence of fierce rival Lin Dan of China which should make the Malaysian's task easier.

The World No 1 has an easy opener against the host nation's Ajay Jayram before an expected encounter with old foe Lee Hyun Il of South Korea.


Hyun Il, although past his prime, could still provide some resistance but in all probability does not have what it takes to pull off an upset.

Chong Wei should also overcome the hard-working Kenichi Tago of Japan in an expected last eight clash.

Boonsak Ponsana is expected to be Chong Wei's semi-final opponent but the Thai is not in the same class as the World No 1.


Peter Gade Christensen of Denmark and Indonesia's Taufik Hidayat should battle it out to earn the right to meet Chong Wei in the final. Neither is expected to trouble the two-time All England champion in the title match.

Kien Keat-Boon Heong are the only pair from the world's top five competing in India but going by their recent inconsistent form, even lesser known pairs can trouble the World No 3.

Kien Keat-Boon Heong, who have a first-round bye, should beat Attri Manu-Jishnu Sanyal of India in the second round but a quarter-final showdown against Yoshiteru Hirobe-Kenta Kazuno of Japan or South Koreans Cho Gun Woo-Kwon Yi Goo could prove tricky.


If they survive, they then come up against the in-form Hirokatsu Hashimoto-Noriyasu Hirata in the last four.

The Japanese pair upset Olympic champions Markis Kido-Hendra Setiawan of Indonesia in the Badminton Asian Championships in Chengdu last week, and this match could determine Kien Keat-Boon Heong's chances of securing the title.

Indonesian second seeds Muhammad Ahsan-Bona Septano could turn out be a banana skin for Kien Keat-Boon Heong in the final but the Malaysians cannot afford to slip up if they wish to end their 15-month title drought in Open tournaments.

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