ASIAN GAMES: Midfielder’s place in squad under threat due to lack of playing time with Darul Ta’zimTHE decision by former national Under-23 captain Irfan Fazail to join Darul Ta’zim is turning out to be a poor one.
As Irfan has hardly played for star-studded Darul Ta’zim in the Super League, his place in the Incheon Asian Games squad is now not guaranteed.
National interim coach Ong Kim Swee is concerned with Irfan’s lack of playing time though the midfielder will be part of the Asian Games training squad.
“Irfan is not playing regularly for his club. I will call him up but he has to fight for his place. I hope he will get opportunities to play in the second round of the league,” said Kim Swee yesterday.
Kim Swee disclosed that the Asian Games squad will comprise players from the league and the Young Tigers A team, who are currently competing in the Queensland State League.
“I can also include three overage players for the Asian Games. If everything goes well, the training squad will head to Australia in July for a series of matches against A-League teams for 10 days.
“My training squad will include between 10 and 15 players from local clubs apart from Tigers A members,” said Kim Swee.
Among those from Tigers A who may get the opportunity to play in the Asian Games are former Tiger C midfielder Mohd Amirul Hisyam Awang Kechik, K. Satish, S. Saarvindran, Gary Steven Robbat and Amer Saidin.
“Amirul has been great in Queensland while Satish has impressed me with his speed. Defender Amer has started playing while Gary is still nursing a knee injury.” said the coach.
Among those from last year’s Sea Games squad still eligible for the Asian Games are goalkeeper Izham Tarmizi Roslan (Darul Ta’zim), Junior Eldstal (Sarawak), Rozaimi Abdul Rahman (Sabah), A. Thamil Arasu and Ahmad Hazwan Bakri (Selangor) along with Wan Zack Haikal Wan Nor and Wan Zaharulnizam Wan Zakaria (Kelantan).
“Except for Irfan, the others from last year’s Sea Games squad are playing regularly for their clubs, so I am not too concerned with their fitness,” said Kim Swee.
However, Wan Zack Haikal, who tore ligaments in his knee last year, has not played a match this season. The international winger is only expected to return in July.
“We have a decent squad for the Asian Games but of course everyone must work hard to achieve results in Incheon,” added Kim Swee.
Read more: Irfan under pressure - Soccer - New Straits Times