JUNIOR Eldstal could make his Sea Games debut in Myanmar next month if the midfielder regains his fitness from a back injury before the biennial Games.
National youth coach Ong Kim Swee will evaluate Eldstal's condition in a friendly match on Nov 26 or Nov 27 before finalising his 20-member Sea Games squad.
Eldtsal suffered a back injury in an M-League match and had surgery eight days ago in Europe.
But the youngster, who has extended his contract with Sarawak for next season, is expected back in training soon.
A member of Malaysia's Merdeka Tournament-winning team, Eldstal joined Sarawak in April.
Kim Swee hopes Eldstal will be fit for the Sea Games.
"Eldstal is a key member and we need his services. As we have lost several regulars, his return will give us a boost ahead of the Sea Games," said Kim Swee yesterday.
"Eldstal is a tireless midfielder with good qualities and is never afraid of taking on defenders and scoring goals. I hope others will not suffer injuries before the tournament."
Three regulars -- Wan Zack Haikal Wan Noor, Gary Steven Robbart and Fandi Othman -- have been ruled out by injuries. The trio have senior caps and are key members of Kim Swee's team. They could be joined by striker Syahrul Azwari, who is down with a knee injury.
The Under-23 team are in Jordan for two friendly matches with the hosts' Under-22 team.
Kim Swee also touched on the Sea Games scheduling where Malaysia will have to play their Group A matches (against Laos, Brunei, Singapore and Vietnam) at 4pm.
"I do not know why we have to play all our matches at 4pm but I am confident we can adapt to it. It is not too hot in Myanmar," he said.
On his team's performance in the recent Mekong BIDC Cup, Kim Swee said his players are progressing well.
"We did not have several regulars for the tournament. The fringe players gave a decent performance but of course need to work on weaknesses," Kim Swee added.
The team, without eight players from the Merdeka Tournament-winning team, were ousted by Myanmar's Under-22 side in the semi-finals in Phnom Penh.