Another injury blow for Bernhardt
KUALA Lumpur striker Arif Anwar is the latest player to be ruled out of the Kuala Lumpur Sea Games in August, handing Frank Bernhardt yet another blow in his preparation for the tournament.
With defenders Faris Shah Rosli and Ariff Farhan Isa also sidelined with long-term injuries, national youth coach Bernhardt can ill-afford losing any more key players.
Arif suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury in KL’s Premier League match against Police last month and faces a recovery period of six months.
It most likely spells the end of the season for Arif, who has been a regular face in Bernhardt’s squad since last year.
The national Under-22 squad left for the United Arab Emirates yesterday to play in the Dubai Cup invitational tournament where Malaysia will face China on Monday, Saudi Arabia on Thursday and Jordan on Mar 26 in the group stage.
Bernhardt will be using the tournament to narrow his selection ahead of the next phase of Sea Games preparation.
“We are trying to put together the best team for the Sea Games,” said Bernhardt, who saw Malaysia beaten 3-0 by Vietnam in their last outing in February.
“The players we have are the best at the moment and I believe they are the best we have for the Sea Games.”
Among others missing out on the Dubai trip through injuries are Pahang striker M. Kogileswaran Raj, Terengganu goalkeeper Amierul Hakimi Awang, Kelantan midfielder Shahrul Hakim Rahim and TTeam winger Zarulizwan Mazlan.
Kedah duo Amirul Hisyam Awang Kechik and Farhan Roslan have just recovered from injuries and were left out while Pahang captain Matthew Davies is on senior national team duty.
However, Bernhardt is able to call upon a sizable number of players who are playing regularly in the M-League with Darul Ta’zim defender Dominic Tan expressing his confidence in the team’s ability to do well in Dubai.
“The matches will be played at pace as China and Jordan are teams with experienced players,”