Ex-national footballer survives crash, cousin killed

Rozaimi (left) celebrates after scoring a goal with Mohamad Ridzuan Abdullah during the international friendly match between Malaysia Under 23 vs FC Ryukyu at PJ City Council field. — Picture courtesy of Malay Mail
Rozaimi (left) celebrates after scoring a goal with Mohamad Ridzuan Abdullah during the international friendly match between Malaysia Under 23 vs FC Ryukyu at PJ City Council field. — Picture courtesy of Malay Mail

PETALING JAYA, July 7 — Former national striker Rozaimi Abdul Rahman survived a horrific car crash in Tuaran, Sabah at 1.45pm yesterday. 

“He suffered head injuries and broke his right hand. He is still warded at the Intensive Care Unit, but his condition is improving,” said Sabah FA general secretary Alijus Sipil.

Alijus said Rozaimi, 23, was travelling in a car driven by his cousin Mohd Farris Mahamud, when the tyre of the car exploded, causing Farris to lose control and crash into first an electric pole, then a telephone pole before ploughing into a concrete slab of a house.

Farris died at about 8.30pm in Queen Elizabeth II Hospital, Kota Kinabalu.

Rozaimi is considered a lethal goalscorer when he is in form. He was the star of the Harimau Muda A team during the 2012/13 season.

The Bongawan-born’s 10 goals during the 2013 AFC U-22 Asian Cup qualification saw him finish as top goalscorer of the campaign, and international clubs such as BEC Tero Sasana and SC Beira Mar were interested in recruiting him.

Rozaimi went on to build on the success that year by inspiring the Malaysian team to the Merdeka Cup title, netting three goals to emerge the tournament’s top goalscorer.

Junior Eldstal, who was in that title winning national team was devastated after learning of his close friend’s fate.

“He is a fellow Sabahan, and I was always very close to him,” he said.

“I’m still trying to deal with this news and will pray every day that he recovers. Rozaimi has a good heart, he is close to his teammates and he works hard,” said the Johor Darul Takzim midfielder, who will fly to Sabah today to visit Rozaimi.