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Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Duo on Aussie radar


KEEN: Talent scout to watch skipper Irfan and striker Rozaimi IT will be more than just a friendly match for Rozaimi Abdul Rahman and Irfan Fazail when the national Under-23 side play A-League champions Brisbane Roar FC in the Gold Coast today. Rozaimi, a striker who scored 10 goals for Malaysia in last year’s AFC Under-22 Qualifiers, and midfielder-cum-captain Irfan are on the radar of a talent scout and former Australia international Brad Maloney.

 Former Sabah striker Scott Ollerenshaw, who arranged for the team’s training stint in the Gold Coast, had a first look at the duo in earlier friendly matches and in turn has invited Maloney to watch them play today. National Under-23 coach Ong Kim Swee and FA of Malaysia (FAM) vice-president Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin were receptive of Ollerenshaw’s proposal and met Maloney on Sunday.

 Hamidin said any player who signs with an A-League team will gain from the experience. “It is a high quality league. Rozaimi and Irfan must not waste this opportunity. If Maloney is really interested, he should officially contact FAM. We only want them in the A-League,” said Hamidin yesterday. Kim Swee will also hand over video recordings of Rozaimi and Irfan during play to Maloney for distribution to A-League teams.

 Ollerenshaw, who praised Irfan and Rozaimi for their quality, said: “Rozaimi has a special talent and is a good finisher. He reacts quicker than others in the box. “Rozaimi is awesome and I knew he would become a good striker after watching him play in Kota Kinabalu years ago. He will go far. “Australia is a perfect destination for Malaysia players as there are many Malaysians either studying or working here.

They will not feel homesick.” The A-League is an eight-month competition which starts in September. If Rozaimi and Irfan do impress today, the duo could be signing with any of the 10 clubs for the new season. Each team are allowed five foreigners. Kim Swee, who brought a 25-member squad to the Gold Coast, will use only his best 15 or 18 players today.

 “I have tested everyone in earlier matches and most of them have impressed me with their quality in terms of playing high intensity games. “Brisbane are a good side and I expect my team to play to their abilities. “I will not take too many chances ... only 15 or 18 players will play tomorrow (today).” Kim Swee was criticised for making the Gold Coast his team’s training destination but the former international said the stint has helped the newcomers gain experience in the absence of regulars.

 “It is also a trip to bond the seniors and juniors. I am happy that everyone is working hard and the keen competition will make my team stronger for the Sea Games,” Kim Swee said. Brisbane, who are currently sixth in the standings, are expected to field a mixed squad of players from the first team and the youth squad.

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