BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
Although Malaysia centre back Aidil Zafuan is raring to help his country in the 2018 AFF Championship final tie against Vietnam, he is unwilling to jeopardise the team's momentum by playing without having recovered fully from his injury.
The 32-year old defender picked up a thigh injury in their second leg semi-final clash against Thailand last Wednesday, and had to be replaced by Irfan Zakaria in the 18th minute.
Speaking to the press in their final training on Monday, Aidil gave his reason for being extra cautious in terms of his availability.
"The doctor and physiotherapist will make the final decision on my availability, after I underwent a test just now. The preliminary diagnosis is I'm not carrying any sprains.
"I've been dreaming of playing in the final, however I don't want to jeopardise the team's game by risking an injury and requiring substitution. I'd rather the coach fielded those who are fully fit, in search of the win.
"It wouldn't be a big problem for Malaysia even if I'm not in the starting eleven, young defenders Irfan Zakaria and Adam [Nor Azlin] are capable of taking over from me. There's little to worry about," he remarked at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium.
Despite his bullishness, Malaysia's defence remains the most worrying deparment of the team ahead of Tuesday's clash. Apart from Aidil's absence, left back Syazwan Andik Ishak is also expected to miss the home leg due to an injury, while right back Syahmi Safari is suspended for the red card he picked up in Bangkok last week.
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Malaysia fans will enjoy seeing this: There was much levity among the Malaysia players when they trained on Sunday, ahead of their #affsuzukicup18 final tie against Vietnam. #masvsvie Pemain-pemain Malaysia dilihat bergurau senda dalam sesi latihan menjelang perlawanan akhir Piala AFF mereka menentang Vietnam.