SAFAWI’S KNEE INJURY CAUSE FOR CONCERN?

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KUALA LUMPUR, May 26 – Malaysia had its first training session in Manama on Wednesday night to continue its preparations for next month’s second-round World Cup 2022/Asia Cup 2023 qualifiers from Group G.
The stint in Manama includes a Tier 1 friendly match against Bahrain, ranked 99 in the world this Friday.
The Harimau Malaya arrived from Dubai on Tuesday where they lost 4-1 to Kuwait in another friendly match and the match against Bahrain will be used by national football coach, Tan Cheng Hoe to identify his final squad for the Group G campaign.
Speaking from Manama on Wednesday, Cheng Hoe said the squad had a light workout at the hotel’s gym after undergoing a swab test on arriving in Manama.
The 4-1 defeat to Kuwait is something of the past for Cheng Hoe and the rest of the coaching staff.
The match against Bahrain, Cheng Hoe ”will test our best first eleven” and hopes to field Safawi Rasid.
Safawi, who plays for JDT in the Malaysia Super League, was not fielded against Kuwait due to a recurrence pain in his knee.
 
“Safawi was not played against Kuwait as he had a bit of pain in his knee and we did not want to risk him in the friendly match,” said Cheng Hoe.
Malaysia’s rivals in Group G are Vietnam, Thailand, the United Arab Emirate – all with a fighting chance of advancing to the next round.
Indonesia, the other team in the group is out of contention without a point to show after five matches.
Vietnam leads the group with 11 points from five matches followed by Malaysia on nine, Thailand eight, and UAE (from four matches) on six. Indonesia is at the bottom without a point.
Cheng Hoe also revealed that the mood in the camp is good and the players are fully focused. They have avoided reading negative reports on the team after the defeat to Kuwait.
”Team spirit is high and there is lot of enthusiasm among the players knowing that they will have to raise their game against Bahrain. A positive result against Bahrain (ranked 99 in the world) will be an added boost to the team for the battle in the qualifiers.
“‘There were shortcomings in the Kuwait match but we have been working on that. Hopefully, we will give a better performance in Manama.”
For the first time Malaysia have three naturalised players in the team for the second round matches – Gambia-born Mohamadou Sumareh, Brazilian hitman Guilherme de Paula and Kosovo-born playmaker Liridon Krasniqi.
In the second round matches in Group G, Malaysia faces tough hurdles, starting with UAE on June 3 followed by Vietnam on June 1 before completing their mission against Thailand on June 15.
*Pic credit to FAM Media

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