Luqman Hakim Shamsudin is expected to be with his Belgian club, KV Kortrijk soon, the striker will fly back to rejoin the Malaysian team preparing for the AFC Under-19 Championship in Tashkent, Uzbekistan in October.
Luqman, who has made the Guardian’s annual list of Next Generation’s 60 of the world’s best young talents, is currently making arrangement to travel to Belgium to join Division One A side KV Kortrijk.
FAM secretary general Stuart Ramalingam said yesterday the national association are confident Luqman will return to Kuala Lumpur in September to train with the Under-19 team under Brad Maloney.
“I have spoken to Luqman’s agent and he told me that the national call-up will be a priority for Luqman,” said Stuart.
On patriotic sentiments, Stuart said the Belgian club, owned by Tan Sri Vincent Tan, would understand the situation.
“The understanding and sentiment is there and we’re confident we will get Luqman back. We are targeting Luqman to join the national Under-19 phase three training.”
Phase three of the centralised training for the AFC Under-19 Championship will see Maloney choose his final 25-player team.
Meanwhile the US-based Wan Ahmad Kuzri Wan Ahmad Kamal was the only one missing as 34 players turned up for national under-19 centralised training which started at Wisma FAM yesterday.
It is understood that the 18-year-old St Louis Football Academy player is already in Kuala Lumpur but he has to be quarantined under Covid-19 measures as he has just arrived from the United States.
However, Muhammad Adam Nadzmi Zamri, a trainee with Brazil’s BISP Cruzeiro Football Academy, was able to attend the team’s first gathering indoors.
The players attended a talk on Covid-19 SOP by the coaching staff and half of them had swab tests done.
Out of the 34 players, 17 went for swab tests yesterday. The rest of the players had done theirs at their respective clubs.
For this first phase of training, Maloney opted to leave out key players, including goalkeepers Firdaus Irman Fadhil and Sikh Izhan Nazrel Sikh Azman, Azrin Afiq Rusmini, Harith Haiqal Adam Afkar, Mukhairi Ajmal Mahadi, Luqman Hakim Shamsudin and Ahmad Zikri Mohd Khalili.
“It’s great to have the boys back. It’s all about restarting the training progress and working on the basics of the players,” said Maloney.
“From my understanding, Luqman will be travelling soon (to Belgium) and it’s great for his development. But from what I know, he will be released for the tournament and final preparations.
“But we are always looking for other talent to play in that position (striker) or anywhere else.”
In the AFC Under-19 competition in Tashkent, Malaysia will play Tajikistan (Oct 16), Qatar (Oct 19) and Yemen on Oct 22.