Malaysia injury bad news ahead of U23 Asian Cup

By Hoang Nguyen   April 9, 2024 | 04:58 am PT
Bad news fell upon Malaysia as their key midfielder Aiman Afif got injured right before the U23 Asian Cup in Qatar this month.

Afif’s injury was confirmed on Tuesday after Malaysia’s friendly with host Qatar. Coach Juan Torres Garrido told Malaysian media that he was upset about missing Afif as he is an experienced player.

At the age of 23, Afif was considered Malaysia’s biggest hope for winning the U23 Asian Cup, which will take place from April 15 to May 3.

Malaysian midfielder Aiman Afif was injured ahead of the 2024 U23 Asian Cup. Photo by FAM

Malaysian midfielder Aiman Afif. Photo by FAM

"It's a bit unfortunate that Afif was injured. There are a number of other players who are also recovering from minor injuries," coach Garrido said after the friendly match with Qatar that Malaysia lost 0-1.

This is the second friendly Malaysia have played to warm up for the U23 Asian Cup, after losing 1-2 to China a few days ago.

After facing Uzbekistan in the opening match on April 17, Malaysia will play Vietnam on April 20 and then Kuwait on the 23rd. The top two teams of the group will advance to the quarterfinals. Malaysia’s best result at the U23 Asian Cup was in 2018 when the team led by coach Ong Kim Swee advanced to the quarterfinals before losing 1-2 to South Korea.

The 2024 U23 Asian Cup will also decide who qualify for the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris. The top three teams at the tournament will qualify, while the fourth place team will face an African team in a playoff for the remaining ticket.

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