Myanmar coach Radojko Avramovic is hopeful star attacker Kyi Lin can overcome his recent injury woes and make a telling impact at the 2014 AFF Suzuki Cup qualifiers.
Kyi Lin, widely regarded as one of the brightest prospects in Southeast Asia, broke onto the scene during the 2012 Suzuki Cup when he shone for his country, even though they ultimately failed to make it past the group stage.
However, a serious knee injury suffered in last year’s Southeast Asian (SEA) Games has restricted him to the sidelines for most of this year.
Nonetheless, he was deemed fit enough to be named in the White Angels’ 20-man squad for the ongoing Suzuki Cup qualifiers, and raised many eyebrows when he came on as a substitute for the last couple of minutes in Tuesday’s 0-0 draw with Timor Leste.
Avramovic concedes it may still be a while before the 22-year-old is back to his best, but is quietly optimistic his young star can make an impact.
“There are some players that only need one moment in the match to make a difference,” the Serbian tactician said.
“He [Kyi Lin] is one such player.
“It may be a telling pass or a run that unlocks the opposition defence, or even an individual effort that can lead to a goal.
“He is the kind of player that only needs a single chance to make a difference for his team, which is why I brought him on even though there was only a few minutes remaining.
“He’s still not fully ready to be starting a game, but in this way, we can slowly nurture him back to full fitness – by giving him playing time bit by bit.”
Following the goalless stalemate against the Timorese, Myanmar will be hoping to claim their first win of the campaign on Thursday when they take on struggling Brunei at the New Laos National Stadium.
The Bruneians are currently without a point after back-to-back 4-2 losses to Timor Leste and hosts Laos, and their cause in those outings were not helped by some error-strewn displays at the back.
In particular, goalkeeper Wardun Yussof looked shaky against the Timorese and was replaced in the next game for Azman Ilham, while centre-back Shahrulrizal Abdul Rahman made two mistakes that led directly to goals for Soukaphone Vongchiengkham and Khampheng Sayavutthi in the defeat to Laos.
Even without Kyi Lin, the White Angels still boast plenty of firepower up front in the form of Kyaw Ko Ko and Yan Paing, who will be looking to their side up and running on Thursday.