Malaysia U-15 captain explains why he punched Thailand star during AFF U15 Championship 2019 final


Malaysia defeated hosts Thailand 2-1 to lift the AFF U15 Championship 2019 in Chonburi on Saturday, but not before some ugly scenes had played out on the pitch.

Malaysia had come back from behind to lead 2-1 against the hosts in the dying minutes of the game when Thai player Kongpop Sroirak and Malaysia forward Muhammad Aliff Izwan got into a heated exchange.

The exchange led to Kongpop landing a punch on Izwan’s face which prompted Malaysia captain Khairil Zain to punch back Kongpop which led to a mass brawl between the two sets of players which was only dispersed by the match officials and staff from both the sides.

Cầu thủ U15 Thái Lan và Malaysia loạn đả trong trận chung kết U15 Đông Nam Á 2019

15-year-old Khairil and Kongpop both received red cards for the incident and the Malaysian has now explained what went on during the violent few minutes towards the closing stages of the final at the Chonburi Campus Stadium.

“It was not something that I wanted to do, but when I saw [Kongpop] punching my friend, I felt very angry… I treat my teammates like brothers. I just wanted to do something,” Khairil told the New Straits Times.

“Aliff and I have known each other since standard six. Overall, I am very happy with the win as it has always been my dream to win an ASEAN-level tournament,” said the player who is a product of the Mokhtar Dahari Academy.

“We learnt a lot from the experience of playing against bigger and stronger opponents. It was a meaningful experience. The title is timely ahead of next month’s 2020 AFC U16 Championship Qualifiers,” he told NST.

Malaysia will compete with Japan, Cambodia and Laos in the AFC U16 Championship Qualifiers to be held from September 18 with only the group winner and five best runners-up across the 11 groups qualifying for the finals.

(Photo courtesy: FA Malaysia)