Fazrul fears the worst

The kick thudded flush into his face and even made many watching on TV back home flinch.

Fearing the worse, the players from ATM FA and the LionsXII gathered around Fazrul Nawaz as he was treated on the ground.

Four days after the horrific incident, the full extent of the injury came to light for the first time on Tuesday.

The good news is that Fazrul did not sustain any brain damage.

The bad news: the LionsXII striker and Singapore international's career could be in jeopardy, after ATM defender Amiridzwan Taj's kick fractured his forehead.

Speaking to The New Paper on Tuesday, LionsXII physiotherapist Nurhafizah Abu Sujad said: "Part of his forehead is dented inwards because of the fracture and there are a few broken pieces, but luckily there was no brain damage.

"He might need surgery to correct the fracture and we will be seeking a second opinion from a professor in neuroplastics at the National University Hospital tomorrow."

The physio warned that the 28-yearold striker could see his footballing career shortened if he requires surgery to insert a titanium plate over the affected area.

She said: "The bone in the area is about 2mm thick, and even titanium plates are not as strong as bone and might still break."

In the best-case scenario, Fazrul will return to football in four to five months, but would require a protective headgear - a la Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech - for a long time.

When contacted, Fazrul was calm about his injury.

Lucky

He will wait for the second opinion before talking about the future.

Speaking about the incident, he said: "I thought it was just a normal tackle, but I was lucky I covered my face with my elbow. "Otherwise he would have been sitting on my face.

"I didn't even know I was bleeding and wanted to get up after the tackle until someone told me."

The incident happened during injury time in the LionsXII's 4-1 loss to ATM in the second leg of their Malaysia Cup quarter-final in Selangor.

Taj received a straight red for the kick, as the Malaysian Super League champions bowed out of the competition 4-2 on aggregate.

The hardworking Fazrul bled from a gash in his forehead and was stretchered off the field, where he later received stitches.

He returned to Singapore last Saturday and went to Raffles Hospital for a check-up.

It was there that he discovered the extent of the injury.

Fazrul was due to join up with the Lions ahead of their friendly against Laos tomorrow, but will now be sidelined, along with Qiu Li (left knee) and Safuwan Baharudin (torn left triceps) on the treatment table.

He said: "I am quite disappointed, but these things happen in football and I just have to take it."


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