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7 players Nelo Vingada should call up against North Korea

Still searching for the Tigers' first win in 2017, Malaysia coach Nelo Vingada has two matches against North Korea in the 2019 Asian Cup qualifiers in November to get the three points. Here are seven candidates the Portuguese should consider, including a couple of names for the future.

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FAZLY MAZLAN

It is surprising that Fazly’s last appearance for Malaysia was over a year ago. He is by far the best left-back in the country despite a slight dip in performances this year as compared to his previous seasons.

Nazirul Naim Che Hashim has been decent for Malaysia defensively but seems to lack the added edge that Fazly is able to produce for Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT).

There were suggestions that Vingada did not call up the 23-year-old because he wanted more time to work with the youngster, something JDT were not willing to allow - presumably because they were short of options at the back.

RIZAL GHAZALI

Having missed the last call-up due to suspension, Kedah right-back Rizal is expected to return to the Malaysia squad and possibly regain his place in the line-up.

His replacement against Hong Kong in October, Matthew Davies, impressed coming into the team after the SEA Games and while the latter is difficult to beat, consistent and delivers good crosses, Rizal’s athleticism gives him the slight edge.

Rizal has strong competition for his spot

JDT's S. Kunanlan is another Vingada could call-up but at 31 and the availability of younger prospects around, Malaysia can afford to start planning ahead in the right-back department. Rizal is 25 while Davies is 22.

FADHLI SHAS

Just a year ago, Fadhli was arguably at his lowest. The fans and critics were questioning his selection for the AFF Suzuki Cup. Even JDT owner Tunku Ismail commented that the centre-back did not deserve his place.

Fast-forward a year and Fadhli can claim to be arguably the best local centre-back in the Malaysia Super League (MSL). He moved above Aidil Zafuan Abdul Radzak in the Southern Tigers’ pecking order and has been their main man at the back following Marcos Antonio’s long term knee injury in July.

Fadhli has rebounded in style this season

Fadhli was named by Vingada in September but pulled out due to injury. He was a surprising omission earlier this month despite being fit again for domestic football.