It will be a year to forget for national Under-23 player Gary Steven Robbat after being hit by a string of bad luck.
Gary’s hard tackling and never-say-die attitude played a big role in helping Malaysia qualify for the Asian Zone final round Olympic qualifiers but since then he has yet to play for the team.
The midfielder was instrumental in Malaysia’s impressive displays against Pakistan (2-0 on aggregate) and Lebanon (2-1 on aggregate) in the opening two rounds respectively.
But it was downhill for Gary after that as he missed the opening final round qualifier against Japan as he was serving a suspension for a red card collected against Lebanon.
The Kedah-born player later aggravated a hamstring injury in training earlier this month and was left behind for the Indonesian SEA Games.
Gary was expected to be out for three weeks but a scan revealed that he had 2cm tear on his hamstring and will be out for a longer period.
The disappointed 19-year-old playmaker said: “It is quite frustrating as I missed the SEA Games and now I have to miss the two matches against Syria and Bahrain in Kuala Lumpur.”
“I thought I could play in the Olympic qualifiers after missing the SEA Games but my bad luck struck again. I worked hard in training but then the injury came up again and I will be sidelined longer.
“I am happy the team won the gold medal in Indonesia but I’m disappointed that I was not a part of it.”
Gary will now have to wait until next year to play in the Asian Zone final round Olympic qualifying matches.
Malaysia will take on Bahrain at the Bahrain National Stadium on Feb 5 and Syria at the Prince Mohammed Stadium on Feb 22 before ending the campaign against Japan at the National Stadium on March 14.
“I can’t wait to return to the team and start playing but, for now, I have to focus on my recovery,” said Gary.
“I still have three more Olympic qualifying matches to play.”