Asian Cup Qualifying: 10 possible Malaysia call-ups to face North Korea
Farizal Marlias (JDT)
The Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) goalkeeper has reclaimed a starting role at the Southern Tigers after Izham Tarmizi Roslan was given a run in the team last season.
Farizal is among the few senior players at the club that hasn’t retired from international football.
Having previously represented the Tigers, at one point edging out long-time Malaysia No.1 Khairul Fahmi Che Mat, Farizal is no stranger to the national set-up.
JDT have the league’s best defensive record despite getting off to a less than satisfactory start this season. Farizal has kept a clean sheet twice already from five games.
Azamuddin Akil (JDT)
Like Farizal, this 31-year-old winger is among the senior JDT players still available for selection.
The right-sided player is probably one of the first names picked when Southern Tigers coach Benjamin Mora names a full-strength squad.
Hardworking Azamuddin has been relentless at JDT and Malaysia could use his tenacity on the road against the committed Koreans on March 28.
Stuart Wark (Felda United)
Malaysia are missing some grunt in the middle of the park following Brendan Gan’s knee injury and this naturalised midfielder could be the answer.
The Scottish-born Wark was signed by JDT II signed last season but never really got a chance to shine before being shipped off to Sabah.
He joined Felda United this season and has been playing regularly.
Wark has the physique that Ong might favour to break down North Korea’s attacks.
Nasir Basharuddin (Perak)
Nasir may have been on the plane to Yangon in November had he not been injured. The central midfielder has since recovered and regained his place in the Bos Gaurus’ line-up.
He may have lost the captain’s armband to Shahrom Kalam but Nasir has been impressive alongside Hafiz Kamal.
Nasir is a workhorse on the pitch and, with the Malaysians expected to spend plenty of time chasing the hosts in Pyongyang, his constant running would certainly help.
Fazly Mazlan (JDT)
Conspicuously left out of the Suzuki Cup squad despite being fit, Fazly is a player the Tigers really need to fill the left-back role.
Nazirul Naim Che Hashim has been OK at Perak so far this season, but neither he nor Matthew Davies were effective for the Tigers as they crashed out of the AFF group stage.
Fazly is determined, difficult to get past and has enough in his tank to get into the opponents’ half to contribute in attack.