Malaysian footballers told to hire bodyguards after spate of attacks

A number of high-profile Malysian footballers playing for Johor Darul Ta’zim have been attacked recently

Rozanna Latiff
Wednesday 08 May 2024 09:30 BST
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Faisal Halim was left in a critical condition after being attacked while shopping
Faisal Halim was left in a critical condition after being attacked while shopping (Getty Images)

Malaysia’s FA has recommended players consider hiring bodyguards while Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) has beefed up security for its squad after their midfielder Safiq Rahim became the third player to be attacked over the last week.

Safiq, a former national team captain, had his car windscreen smashed by unknown assailants late on Tuesday.

Selangor FC winger Faisal Halim was left in critical condition after being splashed with acid at a shopping mall on Sunday, while national team player Akhyar Rashid was injured in a robbery outside his home in the eastern state of Terengganu last week, media reported.

Terengganu police have said both attacks were unrelated, but the incidents have sparked concern in Malaysia where violence against athletes is rare.

Akhyar Rashid was injured in a robbery
Akhyar Rashid was injured in a robbery (Getty Images)

Safiq, who was unharmed in the incident, said in a copy of a police report shared on Instagram that two men on a motorcycle approached his car with a hammer and smashed his rear windscreen.

“Did not expect that I would be attacked next near the JDT training centre. We need to be vigilant,” the 36-year-old said in an accompanying caption.

JDT, who are run by the crown prince of the Johor royal family, called on police to investigate the attack on Safiq and said it had advised players to be cautious of their surroundings and about what they post on social media.

“The incident, together with the recent attacks on Akhyar Rashid and Faisal Halim, have no place in football,” JDT chief executive officer Alistair Edwards said in a statement on the team’s Facebook page.

Football Association of Malaysia President Hamidin Mohd Amin said players should take additional safety measures, such as hiring personal bodyguards.

“While not all players may have the financial means to hire bodyguards, it’s a sensible idea, especially for star players who may attract unwanted attention,” he was quoted as saying by the New Straits Times on Tuesday.

Reuters

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