Sairol Sahari at a press conference. PHOTO: FADHIL YUNUS
BY Fadhil Yunus
Brunei Darussalam’s defender Sairol Sahari has been named the third oldest player in the ASEAN zone featured in the FIFA World Cup 2020 Qualification for Asian Football Confederation (AFC), according to social media account theaseanfootball recently.
The list featured the top 10 oldest players who represented member associations affiliated with the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) during the World Cup qualifiers including the first and second qualifying rounds.
Sairol was made captain for the national team and featured for the Wasps in both legs of the first round of the World Cup qualifiers against Mongolia at the age of 37 last June.
The Kasuka defender returned to the national side for the first time in five years, having earlier been recalled to the squad a month earlier by then-national coach Robbie Servais.
He has a series of appearances under his belt for the national team mainly in the AFF Suzuki Cup qualifying rounds in 2008, 2012 and 2014.
Four Indonesian players are included in the top five of oldest players in addition to two players each from the Philippines and Singapore as well as one from Thailand.
The majority in the list are defenders with five players followed by three goalkeepers, one midfielder and one defender.
Indonesia striker Beto Goncalves topped the list as the oldest player in the ASEAN zone after appearing for the Merah Putih at the age of 38 during a 2-3 defeat to Malaysia.
His international teammate Wawan Hendrawan came in as the second oldest player and the oldest goalkeeper to make the list.
Indonesia also fielded one of the oldest defenders in the qualifying rounds with Yustinus Pae and Otavio ranked fourth and fifth, respectively.
Singapore’s long-serving defender Baihakki Khaizan was ranked sixth after he started for the Lions in the opening group stage match against Yemen last September.
Philippines’ defender Alvaro Silva came in seventh with Singapore’s veteran goalkeeper Hassan Sunny in eighth place.
Thailand goalkeeper Siwarak Tedsungnoen was ranked ninth while Philippines’ midfielder Angel Guirado made the top 10.
The ASEAN Football compiles statistics of ASEAN-related players and teams including the youngest players featured in World Cup qualifiers, and all-time appearances for AFF teams in the AFC Asian Cup.
-- Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin