Match Of The Week

Football: Shahdan hurt on same pitch

The latest injury for Shahdan Sulaiman is frustrating to the Tampines midfielder, as he believes it will be difficult for him to force his way back into the starting line-up once his injury heals.
The latest injury for Shahdan Sulaiman is frustrating to the Tampines midfielder, as he believes it will be difficult for him to force his way back into the starting line-up once his injury heals.ST FILE PHOTO

S-LEAGUE

Tampines Rovers v Home United Jalan Besar Stadium, 7.45pm

Moments after the Selangor player clattered into him, Shahdan Sulaiman felt a searing pain rip through his ankle and leg on Tuesday night.

As the Tampines Rovers midfielder hobbled off the National Stadium pitch after being substituted in the 90th minute of their 1-0 Asian Football Confederation Cup win, he feared the worst.

 

Yesterday, an x-ray and doctor's consultation saw him diagnosed with a hairline fracture on his right fibula. He is expected to be out for up to 12 weeks.

It was the same bone that he had fractured - on the same National Stadium pitch - back in 2014, while he was playing for the Singapore national team against Myanmar in the Asean Football Federation Suzuki Cup.

He had also suffered a dislocated ankle, and the double injury kept him out of action for six months.

Said Shahdan: "It was scary for me after that tackle because it was the same leg. I had trouble walking after the game when I got home and had a feeling something was wrong.

"After an x-ray on Wednesday, I visited my surgeon just now who then told me what the issue was and extent of the injury."

National team physiotherapist Nurhafizah Abu Sujad said: "The fracture would take around six to eight weeks to fully heal. After three months or so, Shahdan would be back in training as per normal."

Shahdan admits his frustration at the timing of his injury. The 28-year-old, who came back from his 2014 horror barely a year ago, said: "I'm quite disappointed and it's a big blow to me. We're halfway through the season and for me to be out injured is quite frustrating.

"Once I'm back, it'll be difficult for me to nail down a starting place again in Tampines with all the players they've got. All I can do is wait for the fracture to heal and hope for a quick recovery.

"With the Suzuki Cup at the end of the year, I'm looking forward to returning and being up for contention for the national side by putting in good performances."

With 10 starts in 10 games in the S-League this season, Shahdan is a key man for the Stags and his absence will be noticed.

Said coach V. Sundramoorthy: "We're going to miss him but that's part of the game. We need to move on. We have to help him recover as fast as possible."

Sundram is also concerned about fatigue in his squad. The 50-year-old's team had only two days' rest between the Selangor win and tonight's clash with Home United at Jalan Besar Stadium.

"We need fresh legs," Sundram said. "We try our best to use fresher players but the most important thing is that we still need to get the three points."

Second in the table on 21 points, the Stags trail leaders Albirex Niigata by five points with a game in hand.

Tired or not, the Stags will be going into the game on a high after the Selangor win. The result provided some respite after the club were mired in various off-pitch controversies in the last few weeks and Sundram hailed his players' resilience.

"I believe that these players are mature enough and they've played football for a long period - they're professionals," he said.

"Pressure will always be there, especially if you gather a team like this but I believe they can deliver every week like how we showed against Selangor."

In yesterday's match, bottom side Garena Young Lions upset the seventh-placed Warriors 3-1 to halt a losing run of 10 matches.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 13, 2016, with the headline 'Shahdan hurt on same pitch'. Print Edition | Subscribe