Ariff knocking on the door again
player Ariff Farhan Isa is now back on his feet to fight for a spot in the Sea Games team following a career-threatening knee injury.
The 21-year-old, who can play in defence and midfield, hurt his knee in the 4-1 win over the Philippines in a friendly under then coach Frank Bernhardt in March, last year.
He, however, kept on playing for Kedah after that and suffered an Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) tear in his right knee.
It denied him a spot in Kedah’s Malaysia Cup winning team last season as he had to go for surgery.
Ariff, who plays in the left-back position for Kedah, is yet to feature for his club this season upon making full recovery.
However, coach Ong Kim Swee has handed Ariff a chance to resurrect his career with the national under-22 team ahead of the Kuala Lumpur Sea Games in August.
“I thanked the coach when I reported for training yesterday (on Monday). I thought I would not be part of his plans considering that I have yet to get into Kedah’s starting line-up this year,” said Ariff yesterday.
Ariff is one of six surviving members of the 2015 Sea Games team that failed to qualify for the semi-finals.
The others are defender Matthew Davies, midfielders Amirul Hisyam Awang Kechik and Adam Nor Azlin along with forwards Syafiq Ahmad and S. Kumaahran.
“I have not played a competitive match for a long time. The playing tour in China next month will definitely get me back on my feet if I get selected for it,” he said.
On his right knee after the surgery, Ariff said he has recovered fully with 85 per cent mobility.
“No player can achieve 100 per cent mobility after an ACL surgery. I am, however, working very hard to strengthen my leg muscles in the gym,” Ariff added.