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Sunday, February 03, 2013

Rozaimi needs a defensive touch-up
Rozaimi Abdul Rahman throws the ball to his teammates during a training session in Gold Coast, Australia yesterday.
ROZAIMI Abdul Rahman is a talented striker who must work on his defensive qualities. National youth coach Ong Kim Swee wants only players with all-round abilities in his squad for the Sea Games in December and Rozaimi needs to put in extra hours in training to be considered. In modern day football, strikers are required to not only have a keen eye for goals but also to fall back and defend.

In Rozaimi's case, the 21-year-old is very dangerous in the penalty box but dislikes getting involved in other things. "Scoring comes naturally for me but not other things. It is something that I need to address before important assignments. I am not quite an all-round player just yet," said Rozaimi in Gold Coast, Australia yesterday.

 "I am working on it in training and hopefully, my game will improve. The competition is stiff and if I do not get better, I could be left out from the Sea Games squad." Kim Swee said Rozaimi is skilful and an excellent striker but slightly lacks defensive qualities. "He can do almost anything inside the box. He is a powerful player but does not defend well. He is, however, working very hard in training," said Kim Swee.

Rozaimi became the hottest property in local football after making headlines in last year's AFC Under-22 qualifiers, where he scored 10 goals for Malaysia. He also played an instrumental role in Sabah's historic win in the Malaysia Games in Kuantan. After earning his first cap as a substitute in Malaysia's 6-0 win over Sri Lanka last April, Rozaimi was in the national squad for the friendly matches against English Premier League sides Arsenal and Manchester City last July before travelling to Austria for matches.

He was also part of the AFF Cup training squad but dropped out due to a groin injury. Rozaimi, who joined Young Tigers A in December from Sabah, is part of the 25-member team in Gold Coast for friendly matches. He scored a goal in the 5-1 thrashing of Gold Coast Sharks last weekend before netting again in the 2-1 win over Brisbane Lions on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, defensive errors led to the national Under-23 team's 2-1 loss to Australia's Premier League side Brisbane Olympic at the Goodwill Sports Club in Brisbane yesterday. Coach Ong Kim Swee tested almost his entire squad and although most gave a good account, the team were led down by poor finishing. "In defeat, I'm happy with my boys' performance as they dictated the game and created opportunities. "I hope they will learn from this result as one needs to score to win matches," said Kim Swee. The team will end their tour with a friendly against A-League champions Brisbane Roar on Tuesday. By Ajitpal Singh

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