Leading up to the excitement of the imminent AFF Suzuki Cup 2016, we couldn’t help but to notice a few prominent players who will miss this around. Some retired, some injured, some simply did not make the cut.
Here are a few players who sadly will not be gracing the pitch, or our television screens this end of November.
Safiq Rahim – Malaysia
This young and talented midfielder was also serving as the captain of Malaysia until about 4 months ago when he abruptly announced his retirement from the national team.
“The time has come for me to retire from the national team and give opportunities to other players to carry on my roles,” said Safiq, who has scored 15 goals in 66 caps.
The 29-year old garnered an array of awards during his international stint, including Malaysia Cup Final Best Player (2014) and the AFC Cup Most Valuable Player (2015). If only he’d change his mind like Messi did!
Charyl Chappuis – Thailand
This is probably the biggest let-down; the man who scored FOUR times in Thailand’s 2014 bid for the AFF Suzuki Cup is not named in this year’s squad.
But it’s not Thailand’s national coach Kiatisuk Senamuang’s fault, the 24-year old Suphanburi midfielder was overcoming an injury and couldn’t get back on the pitch almost two years. Upon recovery, he tried to fight his way into the squad, but coach Kiatisuk is not convinced just yet.
Sanrawat Dechmitr – Thailand
Thailand will also have to make do without another prominent midfielder, Sanrawat Dechitr. The 27 year-old Bangkok United attacker was also not called up for national duty, but that could be due to him failing to score any goal in 13 caps.
However, Dechmitr did have an impressive season with the Thailand Premier League as Bangkok United came in as runners-up.
Neil Etheridge – Philippines
This Philippines goalkeeper lead the Azkals to prominence six years ago at the AFF Suzuki Cup 2010, but he hasn’t been able to do it again.
Etheridge is currently playing for Walsall Football Club in England, and for the Philippines national team. Unfortunately, the AFF Suzuki Cup 2016 dates are not in sync with his international break, so unfortunately he can’t be back to serve national duty.
Raphael Maitimo – Indonesia
This Dutch-Indonesia midfielder is one of the prominent names in midfield. He has also stepped up as captain for his club, Arema, back in October when their captain Hamka Hamzah was absent. However, this 32-year was not called up for national duty.
Indonesian national coach Alfred Riedl said that the last time he named a few ‘naturalised players’ in the squad, he was let down. As a result, this time around, Stefano Lilipaly is the only naturalised player to be named in AFF Suzuki Cup 2016 squad.