Monday, September 16, 2013

Junior Eldstal: New star from Borneo

FLYING HIGH: Eldstal attributes quick rise to fame to Sarawak coach Alberts and Ollerenshaw

FOR Sabah's Junior Eldstal, who turns 22 today on Malaysia Day, his football career has really taken off in the past six months.

Eldstal, introduced to the M-League by former Australia international Scott Ollerenshaw in April, emerged as the national Under-23 team's most impressive player in the just ended Merdeka Tournament.

The midfielder, who is of Swedish-Malaysian parentage, must thank Ollerenshaw and Sarawak coach Robert Alberts for making it possible for him to represent Malaysia.

Eldstal, who formerly played in England's lower leagues, was introduced to Alberts by Ollerenshaw who then signed him in April for the Premier League.

"I have got to thank Ollerenshaw, Alberts and also Under-23 coach Ong Kim Swee for everything. However, I have to keep my feet on the ground and focus on my game," said Eldstal in Kuantan on Saturday.

Eldstal almost missed Saturday's Merdeka Tournament final as he was down with diarrhoea but the team doctor cleared him to play just hours before the match.

Determined to repay the faith shown in him by Kim Swee, the youngster scored a goal in the second half of stoppage time in the 2-0 win over Myanmar. It was his first international goal.

"I feel good scoring a goal but what is more important is that we won the final. We battled hard and played exceptionally well. It is like a dream for me as I only joined Sarawak six months ago.

"Frankly, I still go to bed wondering how I got to this level so quickly. Some footballers take a lifetime to achieve their goals but I've done it in a short time. However, I must keep improving," said Eldstal, who is now the most popular local footballer on social media.

On becoming a favourite with local fans, especially the female ones, Eldstal said it is important to interact with fans through social media.

"I interact with them through my Twitter account. Fans are important to football as they give encouragement to players. I like communicating with my fans."

Eldstal hopes to transfer his good form in the Merdeka Tournament to the Malaysia Cup.

"The win is a huge motivation for me and, hopefully, I can continue with the same momentum for Sarawak in the Malaysia Cup. We will take on the Lions at Jalan Besar Stadium on Wednesday."

*Taken from NST Online.
**For Junior Eldstal's Facebook, click here.

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