Malaysia footballer badly hurt in acid attack pledges to play again

Tearful winger says 'I miss football"

AFP June 14, 2024


A Malaysian international badly hurt in an acid attack in May broke down in tears on Thursday as he pledged to return to football in "one to two months".

Selangor FC winger Faisal Halim suffered fourth-degree burns on his neck, shoulder, hands and chest in the attack at a shopping centre outside Kuala Lumpur on May 5.

Nicknamed "Mickey", the popular 26-year-old spent three weeks in hospital and had multiple surgeries for the burns to his skin.

Speaking to journalists for the first time since the ordeal, a tearful Faisal said: "My hope is to return to the pitch in the next one to two months, even though the doctor says it could take up to six months."

He added: "I am willing to return to training when doctors give me the green light."

Scars were visible on the left side of his head and face. He also appeared underweight and his physical movements seemed slower.

A dozen burly bodyguards wearing black escorted the player into the press conference.

Faisal did not explain why, but said that "right now I am kept in a secret hideout" with his family, expressing hope "I can soon be free and no need to hide".

Two people were arrested after the attack but both were released without any charge. It is unclear what was behind the assault.

Faisal's case was the most serious and high-profile of a string of crimes against four top-flight Malaysian footballers in May.

The incidents are not believed to be linked.

Faisal is an established Malaysian international whose equaliser against South Korea at the start of the year was voted best goal at the Asian Cup.

"I miss football," added Faisal.

Malaysia's domestic football season was scheduled to begin on May 10 with a curtain-raiser between Faisal's Selangor and Super League champions Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT).

Selangor pulled out citing "a series of criminal incidents and recent threats", but the league got under way the following day under heavy security.


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