Club mates to put friendship aside when Afghanistan face Malaysia

Pahang import Faysal Shayesteh has built a friendship with Malaysian right-back Matthew Davies during his short time in the country and now the Afghanistan skipper wants bragging rights when the two clash in an international friendly on Tuesday.

Shayesteh can’t wait for the showdown with his Pahang teammate and club skipper Davies when the Malaysians welcome the Lions of Khurasan to Shah Alam Stadium.

Shayesteh, who captains Afghanistan, signed for the Malaysia Super League (MSL) side in the mid-season transfer window in June and has built a friendship off the pitch with the Australian-born Davies.

Davies is expected to start at right-back after missing the trip to Singapore due to a cold last week.

“It’s nice to go against him … he is not only my club captain but also my neighbour, so we pretty much live together and hang out a lot. I’d say we are good friends,” said Shayesteh, seen above left alongside national coach Petar Segrt and Malaysian counterpart Ong Kim Swee.

Matthew Davies in action against UAE

Davies in national team against against UAE last year. Photo: EPA

“We were talking about this match and had some good banter going on between us. This is the first time I’m going up against a friend and club-mate in an international match.”

Having come up against most of the players in the Malaysian squad, Shayesteh has also given some insights to Afghanistan coach Petar Segrt.

It’s nice when the opponents treat you with respect … but for 90 minutes we will forget the friendliness

- Petar Segrt

“My captain speaks a lot of good things about the Malaysian league and gave us some information. He also explained the situation of the national team,” said Segrt.

“Playing a team like Malaysia is good for us and I expect a tough time. I saw them play against Singapore and understand there are some problems now… but Malaysia is a strong country and I believe they will find solutions.”

Segrt praised the hospitality received by his team thus far but said they were in no mood to return the favour on the pitch.

“The organisation and treatment we received here has been fantastic. It’s nice when the opponents treat you with respect … but for 90 minutes tomorrow, we will forget the friendliness,” said Segrt.

“I’m without nine players because they got injured at their clubs. We have brought a lot of young players to test out. My job is to find a solution and these matches are to do that so we don’t have problems later on.”

Main photo: FAM