PETALING JAYA: Muslihuddin Atiq was really glad to finally play football after nine months – although it ended in a 6-1 loss to Petaling Jaya City.
Having gone through an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) surgery on his right meniscus on November last year, the 18-year-old has only been doing recovery and strength workouts for the last few months.
For someone returning from a knee injury, the Terengganu-born winger-cum-playmaker was certainly not afraid to take on bigger players and showed his enthusiasm throughout his 15-minute cameo for the national Under-19 team.
Muslihuddin is, after all, eyeing a spot in the squad to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Under-19 Championships which will be held in Uzbekistan in October.
“The game against PJ City on Wednesday was really good because we are finally seeing action after so many months. However, we are not at 100%, including myself, because I have just returned to the game and still working on my recovery, “ said Muslihuddin.
“I need to improve my passing and positioning. As you know, there are lots of good players in the team and competition for places will be fierce. I need to work harder to earn the trust of coach Brad (Maloney).
“All this while, I have been doing workouts at the gym so it is nice to be back on the field. It certainly felt good to be with the lads and playing the game we all love.”
Muslihuddin said he is about five per cent away from his normal form and will give his all to earn a ticket to Uzbekistan.
Players like Alif Mutalib, Arif Aiman, Wan Kuzri Wan Ahmad Kamal, Zachry Raiff Ghazie Yeoh, and Umar Hakeem Suhar Redzuan are also candidates for Muslihuddin’s position.
“Yes, it will be tough because I did not play that much because of the recovery but I have the experience of playing in the qualifiers last year.
“I have faith in my abilities, and will work hard to ensure that I merit the spot.”
Muslihuddin will have another game to prove his worth to coach Maloney as the Under-19 squad will be playing Selangor II next week.
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