Goal Malaysia's Hotseat with Aysha Ridzuan: Junior Eldstal's recovery and Sarawak's MSL preparations

In this week's edition, Aysha spoke to the midfield hardman about his recovery from injury, his best position and Sarawak's preparation for the new season

You missed the SEA Games due to injury and the team greatly missed you too. How are you feeling now?

It was heartbreaking not being able to join the boys and compete in the SEA Games. I don't think they missed me as they had a strong enough team, [but they] just had no luck I guess. I have just started light training but I have been in the gym a lot to get my strength back!


The season is starting soon. How are Sarawak's preparations?

It is still very early and we have a lot to work on but we have potential and players willing to learn, so only time will tell.


I understand that you received several offers from other teams but you have decided to stay in Sarawak. What's the main reason for that?

The club gave me a great opportunity and I am very close with the coach and players. I love playing under Robert Alberts. Also, playing in front of the amazing fans was another reason why I couldn't leave. Our journey [has] just begun; it would have been stupid of me to have ended it so early.


After a good year with Sarawak and with a chance to play for the national team, you have been getting a lot of attention from the fans and the media. How do you feel about that?

I don't tend to pay much attention to what people say about me. I keep my head focused on football and my feet on the pitch. It is important to stay humble and carry on working hard.


Some say you are better as a centerback, while some say defensive midfielder. So tell me, what do you think is your best position?

I am too vocal and too much of a ball-winner to be a centerback. I love the ball too much and I like to get involved with play. Whatever position I play, I will be grateful to be on the pitch and give a hundred per cent.


Sarawak had a fantastic season last year. Now they are in the Super League, what are your expectations? Do you think it's going to be different compared to last year?

Of course it will be different and it's a completely different ball game. It's quicker and more physical as you go up the league. We have to be realistic with our goals and [be] level headed. We will take it game by game.


Every team seems to be shaping up well. In your opinion, who will be the title contenders in the Super League this season?

We have got the big teams like JDT, Kelantan, Selangor and LionsXII who always compete for the top but for me in the Super League every game is hard and any team can reach the top. So it's a matter of consistency and how teams approach their games, home and away.


It's going to be a great year for football fans this year with the World Cup coming up. Who are your favourites to win the World Cup?

The World Cup will be amazing and I really want to be part of it but our season runs during (it) so it's hard. But I have to go with the home nation, Brazil!


Aysha Ridzuan is the in-house writer & sports production professional for Astro SuperSport in Kuala Lumpur.

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