FFT Asia 50: Which are the five Malaysia players who could make the list?
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Johor Darul Ta'zim
If Malaysia were the victors of the 2014 AFF Suzuki Cup, Safiq could've been on the list instead of Chanathip Songkrasin. With six goals to his name at the tournament, he won the Golden Boot award and was named in FourFourTwo's Team of the Tournament.
Even if we ignore his contributions at the Suzuki Cup, it is difficult to argue that Safiq is not the best Malaysian player at the moment. The two-time Midfielder of the Year's set-piece prowess is second to none in Malaysia and the fact that he remains as one of the few local players to play consistently for the star-studded Johor Darul Ta'zim shows how good he is. And it is not as if it is not warranted; as of May 27th, he has scored seven goals and assisted four in all competitions for the Southern Tigers, making him the highest goal contributor for the team.
Named captain for the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign, if he can lead the Harimau Malaya to a good start, it won't come as a surprise if he is mentioned in the same breath as Shinji Kagawa, Keisuke Honda and Tim Cahill next year.