Keeper has his hands full


Silver lining: Hafizul Hakim (right) is expected to recover fully just in time for the Super League resumption.

PETALING JAYA: Perak goalkeeper Hafizul Hakim can finally heave a sigh of relief after a double blow.

First, he had a knee injury and then, he could not seek treatment because his doctor was in quarantine following exposure to the Covid-19 virus.

But the dark clouds have now cleared for the 27-year-old.

His doctor is out of quarantine unscathed and Hafizul’s Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) result showed he just needed a scope on his left knee to get back into the game.

The surgery was done last week and the 1.86m tall player is set to make a full recovery in four to 10 weeks, returning around early July just in time for the Super League’s scheduled resumption on Sept 1-2.

“My MRI scan showed there was no anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury but there was some ligament damage. The doctor did a scope to clear the debris and injected gel into my knee, ” said the Chemor local.

“It feels better now. The pain is down from level 10 to level one... my target is to get back to light training in four weeks.

“The rehabilitation plan is to strengthen my knee muscles and I believe I can return to football in early July.”

While he may have beaten the injury, Hafizul is facing another big fight.

His injury, sustained last year, saw him miss all four of the Seladang’s Super League matches, leaving the team to bank on their third-choice custodian – Nasrullah Aziz – as second-choice Khairul Amri Salehuddin is also nursing a knee injury.

Meanwhile, Perak coach Mehmet Durakovic has also strengthened his goalkeeping department by signing Australian goalkeeper Yaren Sozer.

Hafizul is well aware that he has dropped down the pecking order.

“You have to give credit to Nasrullah, he has been with the team for the last two years and has taken his chance well. The team also have signed Sozer so the competition is tight in the goalkeeping department, ” said Hafizul.

“I need to bide my time now and slowly get back into the game. I’m willing to play in the Premier League with our development side Perak II to get back my form but, first of all, I need to make a full recovery.”

“The good thing is the season is only expected to resume in September so I have time, ” he said.

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