KUALA LUMPUR, March 24 – For naturalised Malaysians – Mohamadou Sumareh (Gambia) and Guilherme De Paula (Brazil) – it was different “strokes” when the national squad began its nine-day centralised training camp in Johor Bahru on Monday.
Johor Darul Takzim’s new signing Sumareh has been given three days leave from the training camp for medical treatment after a hamstring injury he sustained during the 2-2 draw against Perak FC in a Super League match in Ipoh on Sunday.
De Paula is a first-time call-up in the national squad and best remembered for the brace he scored against JDT before the Southern Tigers fought back to salvage a precious point.
JDT has 13 players in the national squad and many would have thought De Paula was in for a hot reception when he checked into the training camp.
Instead, the 34-year-old was rather surprised with the warm welcome he received from the JDT players and the rest of the trainees.
As a new addition to the national squad, De Paula was made to feel at home. The warm welcome not only warmed the heart of the Brazilian but also chief coach Tan Cheng Hoe and his coaching staff.
Tan Cheng Hoe

The Brazilian has the “finishing power” and Cheng Hoe knows what De Paula has in his game for the national team.

“His second goal against JDT speaks of his asset. After a change in Perak coach he took time to settle (under new coach Chong Yee Fatt’s style and system) and I am confident we could see him in the spotlight in the league,” said Cheng Hoe.
Yee Fatt took over the reins from Australian Mehmet Durakovic who terminated his contract with Perak on mutual understanding between both parties just before the Malaysian league kicked off on March 5.
De Paula sent a clear message that “age is not a factor” in his quest to be a key player in the national team.
Meanwhile, Cheng Hoe gave the thumbs up with JDT’s world class facilities that are at his disposal for Harimau Malaya’s training. It has been raining daily in Johor Bahru of late but Cheng Hoe is not complaining.
”We have the best training and medical facilities. The environment is superb and all the players are enjoying the best at the squad’s disposal. Sumareh is given three days leave before his injury is reviewed.
“It is not serious…just tightness that is bothering him. He should be okay and hopefully he recovers well to join the rest in training,” said Cheng Hoe.
Malaysia is preparing for the remaining matches in Group G in the 2022 World Cup/2023 Asia Cup qualifiers which will be played on a carnival basis in the United Arab Emirates. Malaysia is currently second in the table standings after matches.
Vietnam heads the group with 11 points with Malaysia on nine followed by Thailand on eight and UAE (4 matches) on six. Indonesia is at the bottom with a point after five matches.

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