Lynchpin Beto wants to emulate Baddrol’s success at the SEA Games

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 BY       OOI KIN
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The 2017 South-East Asian (SEA) Games is just around the corner
and preparations are heating up across all sports, not least
football. Frank Bernhardt takes his Under-22 squad to the Dubai
Cup where they will come up against China, Saudi Arabia and

Khairil Anuar is one of the 23 players on the plane to Dubai
with the Perak midfielder is one of the first names on the
Bernhardt’s team sheet. Speaking
to Goal before the last training
session on Thursday evening before their flight out on Friday,
Khairil is well aware what this tournament can do to their

“For this Dubai Cup, we want to prepare from the physical and
mental aspects. Our understanding are growing and we want
to use these matches to further improve on it,” said the player
who is more affectionately known as ‘Beto’.

Malaysia has a history of winning the gold medal in the
football event at the SEA Games and Khairil himself knew that
it was something that he aspires to achieve after seeing how
the Malaysia team did in three editions ago.

“For me, the 2011 one is the one that sticks out. The one that
Baddrol Bakhtiar won. I was only 16 then. In my heart, I know I
want to play in the SEA Games and be like him. We will work
hard to achieve our target. We are the host this year and
football is the mother of all gold medals and that’s what we
want to get,” added Khairil.

A tough-tackling central midfielder who isn’t afraid to carry
the ball forward when he needs to, things hasn’t been plain
sailing for him at his Perak side. Khairil admits that his lack
of playing time does affect his performance with the national
U-22 team but recent changes at the Bos Gaurus has his looking
on the bright side once again. 

“It’s tough when I don’t play for Perak. So when I come here, I
have to regain my match fitness all over again. So now, things
are looking on the up for me at Perak and hopefully it will be
better as the season goes on,” explained Khairil.

While the team isn’t expect to win the Dubai Cup, playing
against supposedly more superior teams will give Bernhardt the
chance to further rectify the weaknesses in the squad as
Malaysia aims to win arguably the most-wanted gold medal at the
2017 SEA Games.

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