5 of the Most Controversial Players to Have Ever Played in the Suzuki Cup

14 February 2017 12:42

​The 2016 Suzuki Cup has already began and here we look back to some of the more interesting personalities who have participated in the tournament over the years. 

​​The AFF Championships brings together the best players from the entire Southeast Asian region, but aside from some fantastic footballers, a number of unique individuals also take to the pitch...

1. Agu Casmir

Singapore's Agu Casmir (C) jumps to evad

Born in Nigeria, but a fully fledged member of the Singapore national team, with 15 goals in 42 international appearances. The 32-year-old striker, who is still playing with local side Warriors FC, is one of the most notirous players to have ever played in the Suzuki Cup.

Casmir made the headlines for all the wrong reasons in 2006 when he simply left his club at the time, Woodlands Wellington, in order to see a move to Indonesian side Persija Jakarta. After months of negotiations he returned to his original club but was banned from the national team as a result.

2. Irfan Bachdim

Laos' player Kovanh Namthavixay (L) runs

The David Beckham of Indonesia football due to his activity both on and off the pitch, Bachdim has not been selected for the 2016 Suzuki Cup, despite being 28-years-old, the supposed prime of his career.

Married to supermodel Jennifer Kurniawan in Germany to avoid Indonesia's mixed-marriage prohibition laws, Bachdim is a public figure having been the poster boy for a number of top brands in the region. 

3. Safee Sali


Prior to 2014, Safee Sali was the darling of Malaysian football, yet an outburst on social media during the last Suzuki Cup has turned the 32-year-old striker into somewhat of a hate figure in his country. Nonetheless, he once again leads the line in this year's tournament.

After a below-part performance in the group stage, Sali wrote on his Instagram, "Those commenting negatively here, have you played at the international level? If not, you'd better shut up...Don't put down the efforts of those fighting for the country's honour...IF YOU SHAME TO SUPPORT HARIMAU MALAYA BETTER CHANGE TO ANOTHER FLAG". He was later booed as Malaysia ended as runners-up.

4. Que Ngoc Hai


The Vietnamese defender will have to overcome the consequences of one single incident, which has, so far, overshadowed the 23-year-old's career. Hai's dangerous challenge on Tran Anh Khoa last year saw him receive a six month ban from football.

Khoa has undergone surgery and has been given a 50% chance of ever playing again, while Hai is back in the national team and is expected to play for Vietnam in this year's Suzuki Cup tournament.

5. Cristian Gonzales

Thailand player Player Nataporn Phanrit

Incredibly, the 40-year-old striker is still playing in his adopted Indonesia, although he is no longer part of the national team. Gonzales, who is 100% Uruguayan, became the first player to ever be naturalised by Indonesia for football purposes. 

Renowned for his short fuse and lack of temperament, Gonzales scored 13 times in 31 international appearances for Indonesia, including three goals in the 2010 AFF Championships.

Source: 90min