Kuala Lumpur (4 May, 2016): JDT II centreback Dominic Tan Jun Jin is craving for international action and hopes National Under-22 coach Frank Bernhardt would give him an opportunity for the Nations Cup 2016.
The 19-year-old former Harimau C team captain is well on the road to recovery after sustaining a back injury in recent months and showed his mettle in his team’s solitary goal win over Sabah in the Premier League on Aprill 22 at the Likas Stadium.
“I don’t have any more back pains and played in most Premier League matches. It is a great feeling to be playing throughout the match without having to think at any one moment of the back injury. It’s gone,” said Dominic as he rushed to join teammates for training in Johor Bahru.
A graduate of Singapore Sports School, Dominic added that he is looking forward to a call-up by Bernhardt for national camp training at Wisma FAM on May 25.
“Honestly, I would like to play in the Nations Cup and I hope to receive an invitation to train with the team. It is always an honour to play for the country,” added Dominic, whose last international assignment was the 2016 AFC Under-19 qualifiers in China.
The Nations Cup will be held on June 3 & 5 at the Hang Jebat Stadium in Malacca and features Under-21 teams from Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam.
Thailand, the 2015 SEA Games gold medallist, and Vietnam go into action on June 3 (kick-off 4.45pm) followed by the Malaysia and Singapore encounter at 8.45pm. The winners of these matches will advance to the June 5 final.
The Nations Cup will serve as a major test for Bernhardt. The German was appointed as the National Under-22 head coach by the FA of Malaysia for a two-year period.
He plans to invite players from the FAM and President’s Cup for training camp on May 7-9, a second camp for Under-19 players on May 20-22 followed by a third camp on May 25 before the final squad for the Nations Cup is selected.
Bernhardt, who was concerned with Dominic Tan’s back injury, will be boosted by the defender’s return to form.
“We sent him to the physiotherapist and it was discovered that he has been sustaining this back injury for a long time. We kept him out of matches for some time as he is an important player. We want to make sure he is 100 percent fit. Dominic is playing again and that is a very positive sign.
“All players must be 100 percent fit if they want to play for the national team. The tempo and speed in international matches is far different than playing at club level. That’s why we conducted fitness tests and the results were not good when we compared them to international level,” he said.