KUALA LUMPUR: Harimau Malaya’s first naturalised player of the modern era, Gambian born Mohamadou Sumareh will be the national side’s trump card in their quest to continue with their winning ways as they take on Sri Lanka in a Class A international friendly match at the Sugathadasa Stadium in Colombo tomorrow (Friday).
National coach Tan Cheng Hoe admits that the Pahang forward has what it takes to wreck havoc on the Sri Lankan defense which is what he is looking forward to.
“Sumareh’s performances in the Malaysia Super League is slightly different as the style of play adopted by Pahang allows him to play in a more individualistic manner, but we will need him to be as deadly and potent as possible in front of the opposition’s goal.
“I am hoping that he will settle in well with the national team’s style of play and I want him to perform to the best of his abilities if he is fielded against Sri Lanka tomorrow (Friday).
“Sumareh’s availability gives me more options upfront in attack and I hope that the forwards who get the nod to play will be able to do their part and play to our advantage,” he said when met at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) before leaving together with the national team for Colombo yesterday (Wednesday).
Earlier, Cheng Hoe stated that he was only bringing 22 players with him to Colombo for the international friendly as three players were left behind, namely Rawlison Batuil, Akram Mahinan and Nor Hakim Hassan following injuries, though national Under-19 (U-19) midfielder Nik Akif Syahiran Nik Mat is making the trip with the national senior squad.
Speaking further on the friendly match against Sri Lanka who are ranked World No 199, Cheng Hoe stressed that he is still working on finding the right formula and best combination for the national side that will be applied when they take part in the AFF Cup which takes place next month.
“Of course we want to record positive results as the players must show continuous improvements in the game and performances in each and every match, even when we play international friendlies.
“I will also give opportunities to the new players who have been called up to prove themselves before deciding on the final squad for the AFF Cup,” said Cheng Hoe who is determined to lead his charges to their fourth win since taking over the reigns at the end of last year.
After their match against Sri Lanka in Colombo, Cheng Hoe and his boys who are ranked World No 171 will take on World No 91 side Kyrgyzstan at the Hang Jebat Stadium in Melaka on Tuesday (October 16) before their final friendly match against The Maldives on November 3 at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil.
In the five previous friendly matches before this, Harimau Malaya notched three wins, a 7-0 thrashing of Bhutan, a narrow 1-0 win over Fiji and a 3-1 win over Southeast Asian neighbors Cambodia. Mongolia held the national side to a 2-2 draw while Taiwan ran out 2-0 winners.