Eldstal not losing sleep over role switch

Eldstal: ‘I am a born central defensive midfielder, it shouldn’t be too difficult.’

PETALING JAYA: Junior Eldstal will switch to his old role as a defensive midfielder for Malaysia in the AFF Suzuki Cup from Dec 6-Jan 2 in Singapore.

The 30-year-old Eldstal, who was a dominant figure as a centreback for Chonburi in the Thai League One, is expected to play in the middle of the park following the absence of several key players.

National coach Tan Cheng Hoe has dropped D. Kenny Pallraj, Akram Mahinan and Darren Lok due to injuries and they are left with only two key central midfielders – Baddrol Bakhtiar and Mukhairi Ajmal Mahadi.

The 30-year-old Eldstal, who will join the team in Singapore, said it would not be difficult to adapt.

“I have been playing as a centreback for two seasons now, so it will take me a few sessions to adapt but I am a born central defensive midfielder, it shouldn’t be too difficult,” he said.

“The team and I have a good understanding. Aidil (Zafuan Abdul Radzak) and I are both leaders. We’ll keep the team’s morale high and ensure that they stay focused.”

Despite the injuries, Cheng Hoe is not pressing the panic button.

“Besides Junior, Dion Cools, Kogi (R. Kogileswaran) and Syafiq (Ahmad) can also play in central midfield, so I’m not worried about the depth or the options I have,” he said.

“I have the confidence in all the boys. Expectations are indeed high but these players are motivated. We’ll do a good job in Singapore.”

Cheng Hoe has bolstered the squad by including two players – Johor Darul Ta’zim winger Arif Aiman Hanapi and Petaling Jaya City goalkeeper Kalamullah Al-Hafiz.Malaysia’s first match will be against Cambodia on Monday.

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