Safee recalled to Malaysia squad

Interim Malaysia coach Ong Kim Swee has named a provisional 23-man squad for the upcoming matches against Laos and Timor Leste, with Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) forward Safee Sali among a host of recalled names.

Harimau Malaya will take on Laos in a friendly match in Bangkok on October 8, before facing Timor Leste in a crucial World Cup qualifier in Dili five days later.

A total of 15 players have been recalled from the squad that were losing 2-1 to Saudi Arabia before the match was abandoned in early September.

This will be Ong's second official game in charge since Dollah Salleh stepped down from his post following a heavy 10-0 defeat to the United Arab Emirates.

Junior Eldstal and Razman Roslan are the two players missing due to injury this time round, with Ong electing to recall several familiar faces like Safee, Zubir Azmi and Aidil Zafuan.

Several other notable players have been left out of the squad and are on the waiting list, including the likes of Ahmad Fakri Saarani, Nurridzuan Abu Hassan, Joseph Kalang Tie, S Chanturu and Gary Steven Robbat.

"After evaluating all the players, including the injured Razman Roslan and Junior Eldstal, I have made several replacements including Safee whose recent performance is quite good," coach Ong said.

"It is rather difficult for me to name a 23-man squad this time but I believe that the new players including those who have previously been with the national team and the U-23 national team will prove adequate reinforcements, especially in certain positions. For me, these are the best players for us to face Timor Leste.

"The earlier match with Laos will also need to be taken seriously as it is a friendly match which will affect our FIFA ranking. But what is more important is that I want to see a good link-up between the players and their understanding of tactics I will try to implement."

Provisional Malaysian national football team

Goalkeepers: Khairul Azhan Khalid (Pahang), Khairul Fahmi Che Mat (Kelantan)

Defenders: Matthew Davies (Pahang), Amiridzwan Taj Tajuddin (Kelantan), Zubir Azmi (Terengganu), Shahrul Saad (Felda United), Nazirul Naim Che Hashim (Harimau Muda B), S Kunanlan, Fadhli Shas, Aidil Zafuan Abd Radzak (JDT)

Midfielders: Azammuddin Akil, Hafiz Kamal (Pahang), Wan Zack Haikal Wan Nor (Kelantan), Ismail Faruqi Ashari (Terengganu), Christie Jayaseelan (Felda United), Adam Nor Azlin (Harimau Muda B), Ahmad Hazwan Bakri (Selangor), Baddrol Bakhtiar (Kedah), Safiq Rahim (JDT), Nasir Basharuddin (Perak)

Forwards: Amri Yahyah, Safee Sali (JDT)