03 March 2012

End of Hendra's HBT campaign?

Jason Thomas

Friday, March 2, 2012

MD HENDRA Azam Md Idris's Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy (HBT) campaign is at risk after the ankle injury he picked up during Wednesday's 2-1 Group B loss to Vietnam.

A key cog in Brunei's midfield, he was on the wrong end of a two-footed sliding tackle in the 21st minute and left the field at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas long before his side would let in a heart-wrenching injury time goal to tournament favourites Vietnam.

"I'm not sure if I can play in the tournament again," said the midfielder when met at last night's HBT welcoming dinner at The Centrepoint Hotel in Gadong.

"I still can't use my boots and I'm on painkillers at the moment. My foot got swollen and I couldn't continue wearing boots (after the tackle).

"Something's wrong with the tissue. My foot was really swollen this (Thursday) morning, but it has got better now. I'll try wearing boots again tomorrow (Friday).

"I think the chances of me playing (in the HBT) again are 50-50. But, of course, I want to play again we have to win our next game against Malaysia (on Saturday)," insisted Md Hendra.

His first serious injury, the 23-year-old Bruneian was unhappy with not only its timing but the referee's (the Philippines' Jovanie Villagracia) decision not to brandish a card for it.

"He (the Vietnamese player) totally didn't get the ball. He also didn't get a card ... I feel the referee was against us," said Md Hendra.

"I've never been injured before and I feel totally sad about all of this. I was out after just 20 minutes ... that's too early," he sighed.

One of the five players to represent the country at November's Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Jakarta, Md Hendra's absence from the national HBT team will no doubt be a big blow for the side.

However, striker Adi Said who along with Md Hendra, captain Mohd Najib Hj Tarif and defenders Md Azri Zahari and Reduan Hj Petara also saw action in Jakarta felt that the team would still function as a unit if Md Hendra could not feature during the biennial tournament again.

"We can still play as a team even if he isn't in the side, but of course, we hope he will recover in time to play again," said Adi, who sent the home crowd into a frenzy on Wednesday after stunning the Vietnamese side with a header in the fourth minute.

"I'm sad with the final result. It should have been a draw or a win. We had a lot of chances, but finishing was the problem.

"Our focus now is on our next two games against Malaysia and Timor Leste (on Monday). We must win them both,"he added.

The loss, which came courtesy of a Cao Xuan Thang header seconds before the final whistle after Phan Dinh Thang had equalised in the 53rd minute also didn't sit well with Md Azri.

"I'm sad we lost like that ... To a last-minute goal," said the defender.

"Md Hendra is a good midfielder with experience playing at the SEA Games and is an important part of the (national HBT) team," he added.The Brunei Times

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