An­other in­jury blow for Bern­hardt

New Straits Times - - Sport -

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,”

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