Malaysia 23-man Suzuki Cup squad profile

It appears as a second-rated Malaysia side, but Tigers coach Ong Kim Swee insisted he has picked the best available players. Vijhay Vick profiles each and every member of the 23-man squad and dishes out ratings… 

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Khairul Fahmi Che Mat

Age: 27

Position:  Goalkeeper

Club: Kelantan

Photo by: FAM

Having been in the national team since Malaysia’s heroic Suzuki Cup win in 2010, Khairul Fahmi will enter the 2016 edition as first choice following the absence of Johor Darul Ta’zim’s (JDT) Izham Tarmizi Roslan.

Khairul Fahmi, or fondly known as ‘Apek’ to the Malaysian fans, is commanding at the back, distributes the ball well and will know just what to expect at the Suzuki Cup. The coming edition is his fourth with the Tigers.

FFT Rating: ****

Khairul Azhan Khalid

Age: 27

Position: Goalkeeper

Club: Selangor

Equally impressive as Apek, Khairul Azhan is surely giving Malaysia goalkeeping coach Kris Yong and head coach Ong a selection headache – a rare positive one in the squad.

Khairul Azhan did well against Singapore, making saves to deny the Lions a home win in September and started against Papua New Guinea in a pre-tournament friendly which Malaysia won 2-1.

Azhan is taller but has not had great year at Selangor, who failed to live up to expectations in 2016.

FFT Rating: ***

Hafizul Hakim Khairul Jothy

Age: 23

Position: Goalkeeper

Club: Perak

Photo by: Perak

This former Harimau Muda B trainee rose to prominence in the Malaysia Super League (MSL) after injuries to the Bos Gaurus’ first and second choice custodians.

He made the most of the opportunity and fought his way into the national team. Hafizul may not see action in the competition as Khairul Fahmi and Khairul Azhan are ahead in the pecking order, but the experience will help the youngster in the long run.

FFT Rating: **