Wednesday, 23 November 2011

No time to celebrate as Malaysia take on Syria in Olympic qualifier

Celebrations will be put on hold as the victorious Sea Games squad turn their attention to a crucial Asian Olympic third round Group C qualifier against Syria in Bukit Jalil today.
Goalkeeper Khairul Fahmi Che Mat, who returned to Kuala Lumpur with his teammates and coaches in the wee hours of yesterday.  said Monday's Sea Games final win over Indonesia will be forgotten for a moment.

"We won't be able to celebrate, at least not yet. We've got two more important matches to play in the Olympic qualifiers and that is our focus now," he said after a tense penalty shoot-out win at Gelora Bung Karno.

Fahmi saved Indonesia's final kick, taken by Ferdinan Sinaga, which allowed Baddrol Bakhtiar to score the winning kick to give Malaysia a second successive gold medal.

The Kelantan keeper said he guessed at the last minute where Ferdinan would place his kick and he dove right to palm it away.

"I could read his body language and sort of knew where he was going to put it.

"I did not have much time to study their spot-kick takers, only (striker Patrich) Wanggai and (captain) Egi (Melgiansyah). Egi shot straight and Wanggai was already off the pitch," said Fahmi, who denied Indonesia with a penalty save for the second successive year after also saving one in last year's AFF Cup final second leg in Jakarta.

Today, Fahmi will be joined by 13 teammates from the gold medal-winning squad for the Syria Olympic qualifier.

Baddrol, Asraruddin Putra Omar and Yong Kuong Yong, are all ineligible while Izzaq Faris Ramlan, Syahrul Azwari Ibrahim and Wan Zaharulnizam Wan Zakaria are injured.

The Olympic squad will be strengthened by the return from injury of striker Ahmad Hazwan Bakri, midfielder Gary Steven Robbat and winger Wan Zack Haikal Wan Nor for the clashes with Syria and Bahrain on Sunday.

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