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Thursday, November 01, 2012

Rozaimi rues letting Sabah down because of national duty

The Star

PETALING JAYA: Striker Rozaimi Abdul Rahman is willing to turn down the chance of playing for Harimau Muda A so that he can feature for Sabah in the Premier League next season. The 20-year-old, who picked up the 100Plus-Astro Arena-FA of Malaysia National Football’s Most Promising Young Player award on Tuesday, is expected to join the Harimau Muda A squad to continue his footballing education.

 Rozaimi said he missed playing for Sabah for most of the season due to his call-ups to the national team. “I’m not happy with my performance with Sabah last season,” said Rozaimi. “I was with the national team most of the time. I feel like I’ve let the team down now that we’ve been relegated to the Premier League. “I signed a contract extension with Sabah recently … my contract with them will end in 2014.

I hope I can do more for Sabah in the future.” It has been productive season for Rozaimi, who scored 10 goals in the AFC Under-22 Asian Cup qualifier in Yangon in June before helping Sabah win their first-ever Sukma gold medal in July. The youngster also featured for the national team in the friendlies against English Premier League giants Arsenal and Manchester City in July.

 The only downside for him was his loan stint with Selangor in the Malaysia Cup, which ended with him picking up a hamstring injury. He scored only two goals for the Red Giants, who crashed out in the semi-finals. As for the award, Rozaimi said: “I never expected to be nominated … let alone win it.

I felt that Kelantan’s Nik Shahrul (Azim Abdul Halim) deserved it. “I had a good start to the season but was down with injuries towards the end of the season … it affected my performance with Selangor in the Malaysia Cup. “Winning the award is definitely a pleasant surprise for me … it will spur me to become a better player next season.”

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