KUALA LUMPUR, April 9 – Penang goalkeeper, Samuel Somerville will replace injured Rahadiazli Rahalim of Terengganu in the national training squad when the second phase is held in May in preparation for the Group G remaining matches for the World Cup 2022/Asia Cup 2023 qualifiers.
The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has decided that the remaining matches will be held in June and played on a carnival basis in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Somerville was one of the reserves named by national football coach Tan Cheng Hoe when the first phase of centralised training was held in Johor Bahru last month.
Rahadiazli is out for the rest of the season with an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury. The other goalkeepers in the first phase were Farizal Marlias (JDT), Khairul Fahmi Che Mat (Melaka United FC) and Khairul Azhan Khalid (Selangor FC).
Former international Hafizul Hakim Nizam Jothy, who plays for Perak FC in the Super League, is also on Cheng Hoe’s radar for a national callup.
Another name on the list for the second phase of Harimau Malaya training is former international Junior Eldstal (pic below).
Born of Swedish-Malaysian parents in Kota Kinabalu, Eldstal played for the National Under-23 (2013-2015) and Harimau Malaysia from 2014 to 2018.
Currently, Eldstal plays for Chonburi FC in the Thai League I and worked hard for a place in the first team.
“I have received good reports on Junior’s football. It is not easy to get into the first team…the Thai league is very competitive and you must win your place in merit. It is good to give him a break and call him up for the second phase of (centralised) training,” said Cheng Hoe.
Malaysia’s remaining Group G matches are against UAE on June 3, Vietnam on June 11, and against Thailand on June 15.