TENGKU Ahmad Tajuddin @zidane is a pint sized player who almost did not make the national team because he is also bowlegged.
Back in 2004, a national selector stood by this scribe and said: "Its a pity that Tengku Ahmad will never make the national squad, because not only is he physically small-framed, but also bowlegged. This would be a big disadvantage when he plays bigger European players."
We were then watching Tengku Ahmad running circles around his team-mates in a selection friendly for the 2005 Rotterdam Junior World Cup. His nick-name Zidane was cemented after the friendly, as he showed speed and agility like the Algerian/French soccer star.
Luckily, the coach then, Sarjit Singh, saw differently from the said scout and named Zidane, from Perlis, into the training squad and he not only impressed in Rotterdam, but went on to play for Malaysia consistently and has more than 200 caps.
He has scored many important goals and made many deft passes for Malaysia in the Asian Games, Commonwealth Games, World Cup, and many other tournaments around the globe.
At 29, he is at the threshold of his career and two matches away from playing in the Olympics -- 2016 in Rio de Janeiro.
Playing a feeders role now, Zidane's deft passes helped Malaysia beat China 3-2 and he is now looking forward to the challenge of his life-time -- Ireland.
"It feels like this is the moment that I have been waiting for all my life. When we came here we were drilled that its only three matches to the Olympics, and we have won one.
"Beating Ireland is a must if we want to play in the Olympics and there is no other option. It will not be easy, but we are ready to give our very best.
"Ireland will be the real test on our true strength, before we take on bigger giants Belgium and Britain," said Zidane.
If Malaysia beats Ireland, Britain and Belgium will no longer matter. What will matter is the third match -- in the quarter-finals -- as a win here will cement Malaysia's spot in the Olympics.
Three matches, one down, two more to go.