Apek goes Bollywood

Melaka goalkeeper Khairul Fahmi Che Mat is known for his agility, and his ability to pull off surprise saves with the kind of action that one often attributes to Hindi and Tamil cinema.

It’s no surprise, really.

Khairul Fahmi, who is fondly known as Apek by teammates and fans, is an Indian movie buff. He watches lots of Kollywood, Bollywood and Tollywood movies during his free time.

He enjoys watching the likes of Rajnikanth, Ajith, Shah Rukh Khan, Allu Arjun and Salman Khan showcasing their dance moves and fighting abilities in movies.

“I like the action scenes because it is pretty fun to see them beating up villains with such style. It can be over the top for some, but I enjoy watching these movies. It is fun.

“In a way, these movies motivate me by giving an extra kick. I am keeping myself motivated through training and also these movies because some of these Indian films have good social messages, ” he said.

He is putting those action movie stunts to good use. During the MCO period, Khairul diligently follows the physical training regime set by Melaka’s fitness coach Norhuda Hiroshi Razak.

“At home, every evening, I am doing physical training. I cannot be diving around because space is limited at home, so I am just focusing on agility training for my goalkeeping.

“Family time is also good these days because I am with my wife and kids most times. Sometimes, we work out together, I help my first two kids with their homework, and we do lots of activities together.

“I am also helping my wife with the packaging of her beauty care product Ladyvie, and also started a Gula Melaka (palm sugar) business as Ramadhan will begin soon.”

Khairul is also itching for real action again and is ready for any format of the competition, even if it means the league has to be extended to 2021.

However, he reminded the governing bodies – the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) and the Malaysian Football League (MFL) – to come up with proper scheduling when the movement control order (MCO) is lifted by the Government.

He said they should take into account the national team’s commitments, as the Harimau Malaya will have to go through the World Cup 2022/Asia Cup 2023 qualifiers, which is scheduled to be held in October and also the AFF Suzuki Cup, which is expected to start on Nov 23.

“If we want to follow the European format, then it should be done systematically. It must sync with the international calendar, which will surely be rescheduled once the Covid-19 spread can be contained, ” said the 31-year-old, who won the 2010 AFF Suzuki Cup.

“We understand that once the league resumes, the schedule will be packed, so the bodies in charge of it must come up with a proper plan.

“Whatever the decision made, the players will be ready for it. We are professionals and must be prepared for any scenario. This is an unprecedented situation. The players have to accept whatever solution given by these two bodies.”

Recently, the Football Association of Thailand (FAT) announced that the Thai League would resume in September and end in May 2021. Many fans would like to see Malaysia follow suit, but no decision has been made.

On April 15, FAM secretary-general Stuart Ramalingam asserted that the FAM and also the MFL would act quickly to announce specific dates on when the leagues would start, once the government declares that the MCO is over.

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