OKS keeps promise and names new-look Malaysia squad

Ong Kim Swee kept to his words and gave more players a chance at international level as he named his squad for the Asian Cup qualifiers... 

Malaysia coach Ong Kim Swee made 11 changes to the Tigers squad ahead of the Asian Cup qualifying playoff against Timor Leste, including giving two players their first call-ups.

Malacca’s Khair Jefri Jones and PDRM’s Abdul Latiff Suhaimi were given their first call-up while in-form Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) midfielder Amirul Hadi Zainal was recalled after a five-year absence.

The trio are among the 11 players brought into the squad after Ong dropped 10 from the side that faced Saudi Arabia and Macau in March.

“Khair and Abdul Latiff have been impressive at their club and my job is to get best players representing the country. I see something in them and will keep a closer on eye on them while they are in the national squad,” said Ong.

“Abdul Latiff has been providing the backbone for PDRM in the Malaysia Super League (MSL).

“As for Amirul Hadi, I’m pleased with how he has been playing and his inclusion only proves the door for players remains open even if they have not played on the international stage for a long time.”

Amirul Hadi, who turns 30 later this month, last played for Malaysia in the World Cup qualifier against Singapore at the Bukit Jalil Stadium in 2011.

The other eight recalled were Junior Eldstal, Fazly Mazlan, S. Chanthuru, Ahmad Fakri Saarani, R. Gopinathan, Ahmad Hazwan Bakri, Christie Jayaseelan and S. Kumaahran while those who were dropped include former Harimau Muda stars Wan Zack Haikal, Nazmi Faiz Mansor and Nazirul Naim Che Hashim.

Ong revealed Perak winger Nurridzuan Abu Hassan would have made the squad but the national team doctors received a medical report that ruled him out for six weeks.

Shahrul Saad was omitted as the centre-back is getting married in a fortnight.

Malaysia play Myanmar in a friendly in Yangon on May 28 before playing Timor Leste at Larkin Stadium on June 2 and 6.

Both legs of the play-off take place in Malaysia due to the lack of adequate facilities in Timor Leste.

Malaysia 25-man squad

Goalkeepers: Khairul Fahmi Che Mat, Izham Tarmizi Roslan, Farhan Abu Bakar

Defenders: Matthew Davies, S. Kunanlan, Aidil Zafuan Abdul Radzak, Fadhli Shas, Junior Eldstal, Shahrom Kalam, Fazly Mazlan, Khair Jones, Azrif Nasrulhaq

Midfielders: R. Gopinathan, Christie Jayaseelan, S. Chanthuru, Safiq Rahim, Baddrol Bakhtiar, Brendan Gan, Abdul Latiff Suhaimi, Amirul Hadi Zainal, Amirul Hisyam Awang Kechik, Ahmad Fakri Saarani

Strikers: Amri Yahyah, S. Kumaahran, Ahmad Hazwan Bakri