FFT's possible Malaysia XI for Asian Cup showdown with Lebanon
Khairul Azhan Khalid
Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) custodian Izham Tarmizi Roslan is back in the squad, but FourFourTwo understands Vingada prefers keepers who are built a little bigger, meaning Khairul could get the start.
Nazirul Naim Che Hashim
It’s a straight fight between Nazirul and Pahang’s uncapped Faisal Rosli following the withdrawal of Fazly Mazlan and Azrif Nasrulhaq.
The more experienced Nazirul, though having yet to establish himself in the national team, will know that he is only in the squad due to injury and putting out a good performance is vital to his future chances.
The lanky centre-back could be a surprise starter ahead of Kedah skipper Khairul Helmi Johari as he has the height advantage and is faster than the tough tackling latter.
Somewhere a certain Dollah Salleh will be smiling if Afif a starts. The former Tigers coach gave Afif his debut as 30-year-old in 2014, drawing questions from many. Afif’s international career was believed to have ended after Dollah resigned in September 2015.
His form has taken a slight dip but he appears to be Vingada’s first pick after two weeks of training in Johor Bahru.
With Matthew Davies struggling with a groin injury, there can only be one option for the right-back slot.
Rizal was always a favourite to start after being among the few who came out unscathed from the AFF Suzuki Cup campaign. The 24-year-old has been in excellent form for Kedah and is among the fittest players in the squad.
While he plays on the right-flank for Kedah, Baddrol is expected to remain in central midfield for the national team.
He was among the four players Vingada mentioned as suitable for the captain’s armband because of the commitment and leadership shown in training. Baddrol's long-range passing and work rate will be needed to hassle and break down the Lebanese.