KUALA LUMPUR: Anwarul Hafiz Ahmad has decided to end his journey as a professional footballer and return to rugby 7s as he seeks to make the national rugby squad for the Philippines SEA Games later this year.
The 26-year-old, from Perak, grew up playing various sports, but football and rugby were his favourite.
After completing his high school studies at SMK King George V in Seremban, he chose to play football and joined the Negeri Sembilan President’s Cup squad before helping Malaysia win a silver medal in the 7s rugby competition at the Singapore SEA Games in 2015.
He then gave up rugby completely to become a professional footballer, playing for Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) for three years from 2016.
But in his three years with UiTM, he faced the same problem which continues to plague other local strikers in the Malaysia League (M-League) – trying to displace the foreign imports. Still, he managed to plunder 10 goals in 30 appearances for UiTM.
So, why is he leaving football to return to rugby?
“I missed out on representing the national rugby team when they clinched the gold medal at the KL SEA Games in 2017, so I want to make up for it by helping the team retain it this year,” said Anwarul, who is pursing a sports science degree at UiTM.
“I think three years as a professional footballer is enough, now I want to focus 100 percent on rugby.”
But Anwarul can forget about walking straight back into the rugby team as he will have to contend with 15 others for the 12 spots in the national squad.
“We are happy that he has returned to play in rugby 7s, but he must compete with the rest as we only want to pick the best,” said team manager, Assoc Prof Dr Ahmad Naim Ismail.
He also praised Anwarul for being a model student by excelling in his studies (CGPA of 3.5) despite his hectic schedule as a sportsman. – Bernama