KUALA LUMPUR: Young football sensation Luqman Hakim Shamsudin will be back in Malaysia from Belgium and is highly motivated to join the national squad’s centralised training camp from March 22-30.
This was revealed by Harimau Malaya head coach Tan Cheng Hoe.
Cheng Hoe said the 19-year-old had been released by his Belgian club, KV Kortrijk to play with them. He has a five-year contract with the club.
“We have been planning to call him for the national squad training for a long time, and this is the right time, while the club have also agreed to release him, ” said Cheng Hoe.
“However, we do not want to put pressure on him, because it is his first time joining the senior squad, ” said Cheng Hoe, who will be gathering the squad after more than a year to prepare for the 2022 World Cup-2023 Asian Cup qualifying campaign in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) this June.
Yesterday, KV Kortrijk’s Facebook page featured a photo of the striker with his suitcase, ready to return home for the first time since joining the club last August.
Meanwhile, Cheng Hoe said the country’s latest naturalised player, Guilherme De Paula, has also been called to the camp.
He however, has decided to forgo Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) player Liridon Krasniqi, who is currently on loan to Australian club Newcastle Jets, due to some constraints such as the quarantine.
He has named 28 players for the training which will be held under the new norm in view of the Covid-19 pandemic, in Johor Baru, using the facilities of JDT.
“The world-class facilities there will help us to be better prepared, ” he said.
The 52-year-old coach from Kedah however, said he had to drop injured players Safawi Rasid, Haziq Nadzli, Dominic Tan, Syazwan Andik Ishak, Baddrol Bakhtiar and Azzizan Nordin.
“The players have just played three Super League matches after a long hiatus, and some have gotten injured, ” he said.
“After more than a year since the last national call-up, the focus will be to get the engine started to refresh our techniques and ways of playing.
“We need to polish the skills, work harder and get back the team’s rhythm.
“At the same time, we cannot pressure and push the players too much, because they have just started the league, ” he said.
The Harimau Malaya squad are scheduled to resume the World Cup-Asian Cup qualifiers, which have been put on hold for more than a year due to the pandemic, against the UAE on June 3, followed by matches against Vietnam (June 11) and Thailand (June 15).
Malaysia have a bright chance of qualifying for the 2023 Asian Cup finals as they currently sit in second place in Group G with nine points after five matches. — Bernama