Kuala Lumpur (26 May, 2016): The Malaysian Under-21 team suffered a setback after their star player Farhan Roslan was omitted from the Nations Cup squad due to a groin injury.
Farhan was injured during Kedah’s 2-0 win against PDRM in their Super League match at the Darul Aman Stadium last week. The injury forced the 20-year-old winger out of their return match on Saturday.
However, Farhan was confident that he would recover in time for the Nations Cup but the National Under-21 head coach Frank Bernhardt did not want to risk taking the player to Malacca for the tournament.
Farhan is currently waiting for his medical report to see how bad his groin injury was.
“I’m disappointed that I can’t play in the Nations Cup but I’m confident of getting back to action very soon. I wish my teammates all the best for the tournament and hope we can bring back the trophy,” Farhan said.
Meanwhile, Farhan’s Kedah teammates Syafiq Ahmad and Arif Farhan Md Isa are now hoping to further impress the German coach for a slot in the final 24 squad for the inaugural four-nation tournament, a showpiece involving Vietnam, Singapore and Thailand.
Syafiq Ahmad, who was a member of the national team at the 2015 Singapore SEA Games, is looking forward to erase the bitter memories at the Bishan Stadium after the Malaysians endured troubled times and were left out of contention for a place in the semi-finals.
“I am really looking forward for a slot in the final squad as we are host for the Nations Cup. Furthermore, the defeat in the SEA Games still haunts me as it was my first international assignment. I want to erase those bad memories with a good performance in the Nations Cup,” said the striker who represents Kedah in the Super League.
“Given the chance I will go out and score as many goals. My game has improved a lot ever since I started playing in the Super League. My confidence has grown too and I believe I can contribute much better in the Nations Cup,” he added.
Former Harimau Muda defender, Arif Farhan, 20, added that the team is focused in winning the Nations Cup in front of home fans, which will boost their confidence going into the 2017 Southeast Games in Kuala Lumpur.
“My experience playing for Harimau Muda the last four years and Super League this season for the Kedah senior team has helped me a lot. I am now at a different level compared to what I was four years ago as a rookie. We should not fear our opposition as technically we are equally strong. It is just a psychological battle out there when we step on the pitch,” said Arif Farhan.
Organised by the the FA of Malaysia and promoted by leading sports agency MP & Silva, the first edition of the Nations Cup features Under-21 teams from Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. The top two teams will advance to the final on June 5.
Thailand, the 2015 SEA Games gold medallist, take on Vietnam on June 3 (kickoff 4.45pm) followed by the Malaysia and Singapore tie at night (8.45pm).
Tickets will be priced at RM5 for children 12-year-old and below, RM10 for open terrace and RM20 at the Grandstand per match day at Malacca’s Hang Jebat Stadium.
Tickets can be purchased at Ticketpro outlets in Klang Valley and Malacca. However, tickets are also on sale at the Hang Jebat Stadium during Premier League match days. More details are available at www.nationscup.asia.