Ace forward Norshahrul was left out to care for his sick wife

Kelantan confirm that Malaysian international striker Norshahrul Idlan Talaha was not omitted from the AFC Cup squad for professional reasons

Malaysia’s Kelantan have come forward to clarify that striker Norshahrul Idlan Talaha was left out for the first-leg of the AFC Cup quarter-final match against SC Arbil because his wife had been admitted to the hospital for feeling unwell.

The team’s manager, Azman Ibrahim, denied that it was due to poor performance as reported yesterday.

“I also said that the break would do him good and that he had too much football as he had been playing non-stop in domestic and international competitions,” Azman told The Star upon touching down in Iraq yesterday.

Norshahrul meanwhile, wished the team luck and is hoping to make a swift return to the team in the second leg of the tie next week.

“It is a difficult situation because we are not at full strength but my heart is with the team. I wish them all the best and hope we get a favourable result,” he said.

Kelantan will play the Iraqis away at their home tomorrow night and host the second leg in Kota Bharu on September 25.