Gary Steven Robbat (right) in a file photo. He picked up a back injury in a friendly against Harimau Muda B in January last year and later aggravated it during the team’s training-cum-playing stint in Europe last April.
PETALING JAYA: Harimau Muda A midfielder Gary Steven Robbat admitted he has a huge mountain to climb when he makes his comeback to the team in the Queensland Premier League in Australia.
The 14-team League kicked off last week but the Malaysians will only open their campaign against Moreton Bay Jets on Saturday.
Gary picked up a back injury in a friendly against Harimau Muda B in January last year and later aggravated the injury during the team’s training-cum-playing stint in Europe last April.
The tenacious midfielder was sent back to Malaysia for treatment and it was confirmed he had a slipped disc and had to undergo prolonged treatment and rehabilitation.
Harimau Muda A coach Datuk Ong Kim Swee has said that Gary will make the 25-member squad but the player needs more time to return to first-team action.
The 22-year-old Gary said he is injury-free but severely lacks match fitness due to his time on the treatment table.
“I have to start all over again to regain my place in the team and it’s not going to be easy,” said Gary on Tuesday.
“It’s almost a year since I kicked the ball and a number of younger and hungrier players are coming into the team and, honestly, there’s a lot of catching up for me to do.”
The Kulim-born player had previously missed out on the 2011 Indonesia SEA Games, the 2012 AFF Suzuki Cup and also the Myanmar SEA Games last year.
“It’s very frustrating to miss out on major assignments for the third year in a row ... I want to break my injury jinx badly,” said Gary.
“We will be playing in the Incheon Asian Games this year and I don’t want to miss the boat again. My immediate plan is to stay injury-free and rebuild my confidence.
“The key is to stay positive and make gradual improvements. I believe the stint in Australia will slowly help me build up my game before the Asian Games.”
The Harimau Muda A 2014 squad – Queensland League
Goalkeepers: Mohd Farhan Abu Bakar, Mohamad Firdaus Muhamad, Damien Lim Chien Khai.
Defenders: Shahrul Mohd Saad, Wan Ahmad Amirzafran Wan Nadris, Mohammad Amer Saidin, Nazirul Naim Che Hashim.
Midfielders: Muhammad Ariff Farhan Md Isa, D. Saarvindran, Muhamad Arif Mohamed Anwar, Gary Steven Robbat, Adam Nor Azlin, Muhammad Nurridzuan Abu Hassan, Mohamad Fandi Othman, Mohammad Ridzuan Abdunloh Pula, Mohd Azrif Nasrulhaq Badrul Hisham, Saiful Ridzuwan Selamat, D. Kenny Pallraj, Mohamad Amirul Hisyam Awang Kechik, Muhammad Jafri Muhammad Firdaus Chew, Zaiful Abdul Hakim.
Strikers: K. Satish, Muhamad Faizat Mohamad Ghazli, Mohamad Qayyum Marjoni Sabil, Muhammad Ferris Danial Mat Nasir.