Dengue battle toughens up Speedy Tigers defender Zul Pidaus

KUALA LUMPUR: Defender Zul Pidaus Mizun's fight against dengue has toughened him up for the Olympic Qualifier in Muscat, Oman, on Jan 15-21.

Overjoyed by his inclusion, Zul Pidaus has promised to defend Malaysia's semi-circle with grit and determination against their rivals in Muscat.

The KL-born player last represented Malaysia in the World Cup in January last year, where the Speedy Tigers finished 14th out of 16 teams.

Due to dengue in July last year, the 27-year-old missed two important international assignments.

"I was hospitalised for 10 days. I lost weight and was weak.

"It took me a few months to regain my strength. I could not play in the Asian Champions Trophy and the Hangzhou Asian Games last year.

"I only rejoined the team in November," said Zul Pidaus, who helped Malaysia win the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in 2022.

Zul Pidaus, who has 32 caps, is expected to play a pivotal role in defence following injuries to Najmi Farizal Jazlan and Najib Abu Hassan.

Malaysia, who are in Group A with Britain, Pakistan and China, must finish in the top three in Muscat to earn a Paris Olympic ticket.

"We have to take every match seriously, especially against China in our opening match on Jan 15, to boost our confidence for the following games.

"Britain will be tough, but they can be beaten. Our matches against Pakistan have always been close, so we expect another difficult match.

Captain Marhan Jalil, Razie Rahim, Syafiq Hassan, Amirul Hamizan Azahar and Ramadan Rosli are the other defenders in the team.

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