Having been room-mates when on national assignments for the past 15 years with the late Chua Boon Huat, goalkeeper Roslan Jamaluddin is truly missing his company.
The Asia Cup in Ipoh, which commences this Saturday, is the first time that the two will not be rooming together after Chua’s untimely demise in a fatal accident on August 1.
And Roslan misses the banter that the duo used to share, although he is now sharing a room with skipper Mohd Shahrun Nabil.
“I feel emptiness as he was full of life. We hardly switch on the television as we used to talk a lot when in the room. The only time we watched TV was when Manchester United plays as we are ardent fans,” said Roslan.
“I do miss him a lot for he was like a brother to me. We shared a lot together, reflecting on life in most of our conversations. He had so many things that he wanted to do and gave me good advise as well.
“Not having him around anymore has affected me and I think of him daily. I pray that his soul will rest in peace as I offer daily prayers for him.”
Roslan and Chua were the only two players in the current national squad to have played in the World Cup, having been selected by former coach Paul Lissek to don the national colours in the 2002 Kuala Lumpur.
“I remember when we were interviewed together before the World League, Chua had said that he will play as long as the nation needed his servcices. But then fate decided otherwise and I am determined to play until the World Cup next year to realise his dream,” added Roslan.
“Though we have virtually qualified for the World Cup, we aim to finish as champions. There is no pressure on us now so maybe that will allow the players to express themselves on the pitch and raise their game so that the win can be dedicated to our brother Chua.”
Rosaln said that while India and Pakistan will be going all out to secure a spot in next year’s World Cup, one should not discount the challenge of Japan and South Korea as well.
“The Koreans play for pride and despite already qualifying I believe they want to win the Asia Cup as well to improve their rankings,” said Roslan.
“And Japan proved that they are no pushover with their stunning display in the World League where we needed a shoot out win to take the fifth spot.”