Malaysia U23 midfielder Gary Steven Robbat wants team-mate Nazmi Faiz Mansor to learn from his own experience of being sent off early in the first game of a major tournament.
Nazmi was given a red card after just 32 minutes in the Young Tigers’ 1-0 win against Timor Leste U23 in their 2015 SEA Games Group B encounter after he spat at opposition defender Felipe Oliveira.
Getting sent off early in the first game of a major tournament was something not strange to Robbat, who had a similar experience at the AFF Suzuki Cup last year.
He was then dismissed for a second bookable offence after just 34 minutes for an overzealous challenge on Myanmar attacker Kyi Lin.
After sitting out the following game against Thailand, Robbat subsequently played his part to help the Harimau Malaya reach the final.
Speaking to FourFourTwo after the game, the Johor Darul Ta’zim midfielder hopes that his experience will be able to inspire the distraught Nazmi.
“The red card [he got] was same like mine,” he said.
“I don’t know what he did, but I was told that he spat at the Timor-Leste player.
“It was such a waste and Nazmi was feeling sad in the dressing room, so I went to talk to him because I got this [similar] experience.
“I told him it has already happened but he can learn from this incident and focus on the rest of the tournament instead.”
Timor Leste threatened to equalise twice in the dying stages as Robbat admitted it was a relief to hold out for three points.
“We were doing well at the start, but we struggled a bit with 10 men after the red card,” said the 22-year-old.
“We had to defend well and fortunately we scored one [to decide the game].”
On a personal note, having missed out on the last two SEA Games due to injury, Robbat is keen to make up for lost time and set his sights on emulating the 2009 and 2011 gold-medal winning squads.
“This is actually my first SEA Games, so I want to give everything to the coach [Ong Kim Swee] and my country,” he said.
“We do not have lot of experienced players, but this group of youngsters can really play football and I hope that they will continue to give good commitment to the team.
“It’s a tough group for us with Thailand and Vietnam, but we just have to keep fighting till the last game.”