Malaysia Super League giants Darul Takzim have confirmed the signings of Fadhli Shas and Irfan Fazail from Harimau Muda after both were unveiled by the club on Sunday.
Both players have been on the books of Harimau Muda since 2008, after graduating from the Bukit Jalil Sports School, and are expected to play key roles in the Under-23 side that will be looking to defend their gold medal at the upcoming Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Myanmar.
Fadhli, the more famous of the two, is already a regular for the Malaysia national team despite only being 22, and was a regular feature in coach K. Rajagobal’s starting XI at both the 2010 and 2012 AFF Suzuki Cups.
The classy defender’s move to the Larkin Stadium is likely to see him link up with Aidil Zafuan in the heart of the Darul Takzim defence, given they have been the first-choice centre-back partnership for Harimau Malaya over the past year.
Irfan, on the other hand, is yet to be capped by the senior side but has made over 30 appearances for the U-23s, and is widely regarded as a star in the making.
The central midfielder, like Fadhli, only turns 23 next year but has already shown excellent maturity during his time with Harimau Muda and could replace Malaysia captain Safiq Rahim as Harimau Selatan’s playmaker-in-chief, given the ex-Selangor star had an awful season following his big-money move and is rumoured to be on his way out.
Harimau Muda coach Ong Kim Swee, who has played a vital role in developing Malaysia’s most-talented youngsters over the past few years, was quick to give them his blessings regarding the new chapter in their careers.
“Congratulations [to] Irfan & Fadhli who [have] signed for JDT [Darul Takzim],” he tweeted.
“May the knowledge and exposure [they have] gained from HMA [Harimau Muda] continue [to] be practiced.”
Following a disappointing campaign that saw them finish third in the league and eliminated at the quarter-final stage of the Malaysia Cup, Darul Takzim will be coached by Spaniard Cesar Ferrando Jimenez next season.
Already, they have sealed the services of ex-Argentina international Pablo Aimar and they continue to be heavily linked to LIONSXII vice-captain Hariss Harun.