A picture of Malaysia star striker Safee Sali allegedly smoking while wearing national colours is making its rounds on social media, but the Tigers' camp is not letting the incident affect its Asean Football Federation (AFF) Cup preparations.
Safee, who plays in the Malaysian Super League (MSL) for MSL champions Johor Darul Takzim, was photographed sitting with teammates at a coffeeshop in Singapore. The picture shows him holding and puffing on what appears to be a cigarette.
Said Safee side-stepped the issue when queried by media about the picture at a press conference ahead of Malaysia's crucial Group B tie against Singapore on Saturday: "I am focused on the match."
Malaysia coach Dollah Salleh declined to comment.
Safee is one of Malaysia's most high profile players. He became the first Malaysian footballer to earn a million ringgit a year when he signed for Indonesian club Pelita Jaya in 2011. Australian club Brisbane Roar was also reportedly interested in the player.
The issue of players pictured smoking is not new to football, with England and Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere caught on camera taking a puff in July while on holiday in Las Vegas. He was criticised by Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and would later admit that it was "unacceptable" for him to have smoked and that he deeply regretted it.