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Thursday January 11, 2007 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Friday July 5, 2013 MYT 12:42:13 PM
by s. sivabalan
PETALING JAYA: Kedah striker Mohd Khyril Muhymeen is the youngest player in the national team for the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Championship. And it will be the first tournament for the 20-year-old player in senior national colours.
Khyril has moved up the ranks from the national Under-20 side and now he is a member of the Under-23 squad preparing for a qualifying tournament next month for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
He is the rookie in the senior team but Khyril will have to shoulder a big slice of the burden in delivering the goals for Malaysia in the AFF tourney.
National coach Norizan Bakar has no choice but to include new strikers in his team. Regulars Indra Putra Mahayuddin, Ahmad Rizal Rakhli, Rudie Ramli and Safee Sali are all out with injuries. Besides Khyril, the other rookie striker in the team is Selangor’s Shafiq Rahim.
Khyril looks set to earn his first senior international cap in the opening Group A match against minnows the Philippines at the Suphachalasai Stadium in Bangkok tomorrow. And Norizan is expected to field him in a partnership with either Hairuddin Omar or Nizaruddin Yusop.
“It’s definitely an honour for me to be given the opportunity to play for the national team,” said Khyril.
“It’s been non-stop football for me since I was chosen two years ago to prepare for the AFC youth championship last October. After that, I played for the pre-Olympic side in the Grand Royal Challenge Cup in Myanmar last month.
“Now I have the chance to prove myself at the senior level. Overall, it just keeps getting more exciting for me.
“With the senior team, I am expected to do a lot of running upfront. The understanding among the players is getting better and I am feeling more confident with each passing day.”
Khyril added that the team should be able to make it to the semi-finals.
“We should beat the Philippines. We are also up to the task to beat Myanmar. In the Grand Royal Challenge Cup, our Under-23 side defeated the Myanmar senior team 1-0. We know where we stand against them,” he said.
“Our main concern is Thailand. We will be playing against them in our final group match. We will watch them in action in their matches against the Philippines and Myanmar.”
Malaysia play against Myanmar on Sunday and against Thailand on Tuesday. Singapore are the hosts of the Group B competition, involving Vietnam, Laos and Indonesia.
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