Ariff knock­ing on the door again

New Straits Times - - Sport -

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.

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