At the tail end of the press conference following the disappointing scoreless draw at Melaka United on Thursday (September 15, 2022) night, Kuala Lumpur City’s head coach Bojan was asked for his thoughts on Zhafri and Declan’s call-up for the national team’s centralised training camp that begins on September 16-19 , 2022, in preparation for the 48th King’s Cup organised by the Football Association of Thailand from September 22-25, 2022 in Chiang Mai, Thailand.  Both their names were in the main list of 25 players shortlisted by Harimau Malaya’s supremo Kim Pang Gon, while Declan’s twin brother Ryan and national Under-23 goalkeeper Azri G., were in the standby list of the 17 players.


We send (sent them = Football Association of Malaysia) (a) letter.  We ask(ed) (the) national coach to release them.  So now we will see.  It’s (a) FIFA date, basically we cannot do anything (about their call-up) but it’s now up to them, will they release or not.  It’s only up to (the) national coach.  We think that’ll be fair to release (Zhafri and Declan) because we’ve (a) very small squad and we don’t have enough players but at the end (it is) his decision. 


Zhafri, was an outright choice for the national selectors this time around after twice being on the national team’s centralised training camp back-up list  before this, firstly in March for the Tri-Nations Series in Singapore that eventually materialised into a call-up and selection to that tourney, and then again in May for the 2023 Asian Cup qualifiers.  Meanwhile, Declan who just began life in Malaysian professional football this season, answers his first call-up. 


When pressed further on the odds of Zhafri and Declan being available for the City Boys’ Super League visit to bottom of the table Penang, next week on Saturday, Bojan lamented that the matter was beyond his control.


“This is the chance if (the) national coach release(s) them.  (This) Question, you must ask Kim (Pang Gon) if he will release them or not.  I don’t have (any info from the Football Association of Malaysia), it’s only up to him, nobody else.”


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