PETALING JAYA – A knee injury may dash National skipper Safiq Rahim’s chances of playing in the 2014 Asean Football Federation (AFF Suzuki Cup) which kicks off in Singapore on Nov 23.
National head coach Dollah Salleh said Safiq’s condition (ligament tear) would be known once the test report on his knee was completed yesterday.
“I was told that Shafiq had a ligament tear in his knee and that could see him out of action for the AFF Cup,” he told reporters at the managers meeting held ahead of the friendly match between Malaysia and Syria, at Wisma FAM in Kelana Jaya, Tuesday.
Dollah said if Safiq was not available, he still had options available in Badrol Baktiar, Mohd Badhri Radzi, Md Hafiz Kamal and Shukor Adan.
“Safiq has vast experience in the AFF Cup competition, especially having lifted the cup in 2010. He is also a free kick specialist and that is where I am going to miss him,” he said.
Apart from Safiq, R. Gopinathan, the star of Pahang’s Malaysia Cup victory, is also a doubtful starter for the friendly match tomorrow as he too is nursing a knee injury, though not serious.
In the AFF Suzuki Cup, Malaysia are drawn in Group B with defending champion Singapore, three time winners Thailand and Myanmar.
Meanwhile, Safiq’s absence could be Shukor’s gain as Dollah has picked him to captain the side when facing Syria at the Shah Alam Stadium tomorrow.
Malaysia will also play another friendly against Vietnam at the My Dinh Stadium in Vietnam on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Syria head coach Muhannad Al Fakeer Yassin said he had seen Malaysia play a fast game in several friendly matches, especially against Indonesia, Cambodia and the Philippines.
“Malaysia has good players, especially strikers and midfielders, I’m sure tomorrow will be a tough match between Malaysia-Syria,” he said. – Bernama