Ong continues to snub JDT players

Malaysia coach Ong Kim Swee made five changes to the Tigers squad for the Asian Cup qualifier against North Korea, but there is still a surprising number of absentees from Malaysian champions Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT).

Only two Southern Tigers players – Ahmad Hazwan Bakri and Fadhli Shas – were named in Malaysia's latest call-up list as the Tigers embark on their 2019 Asian Cup qualification campaign.

Among the notable absentees included the likes of Izham Tarmizi Roslan, Fazly Mazlan, Junior Eldstal, Azrif Nasrulhaq, Afiq Fazail and Nazmi Faiz Mansor – all of whom have been been playing regularly this season

Among the notable absentees included the likes of Izham Tarmizi Roslan, Fazly Mazlan, Junior Eldstal, Azrif Nasrulhaq, Afiq Fazail and Nazmi Faiz Mansor – all of whom have been been playing regularly this season.

There was also a surprising number of JDT absentees from Malaysia's AFF Suzuki Cup squad last year.

Malaysia play Philippines in a friendly in Manila on March 22 before facing North Korea on March 28 but the qualifier’s fate hangs in the balance as Malaysia are refusing to travel to Pyongyang due to a political standoff between the two countries.

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) is expected to announce an alternative venue this week. The tie could be moved to a neutral venue or played at a later date.

Among the new call-ups include Farizal Harun, Afif Amiruddin, Khair Jones, Nasir Basharudin and newbie Akram Mahinan while those left out were Darren Lok, Khairul Fahmi Che Mat, Irfan Fazail, Ahmad Fakri Saarani and Norshahrul Idlan Talaha.

Lok, Fakri and Irfan are out injured while Khairul Fahmi and Norshahrul were dropped.

The squad reports for training on Monday but JDT and Felda United players will report after their midweek AFC Cup match.

The Squad

Goalkeepers: Khairul Azhan Khalid, Hafizul Hakim Khairul Nizam Jothy, Farizal Harun

Defenders: Shahrul Saad, Nazirul Naim Che Hashim, Fadhli Shas, Ronny Harun, Matthew Davies, Khairul Helmi Johari, Shahrom Kalam, Khair Jones, Afif Amiruddin

Midfielders: Nasir Basaruddin, Zaquan Adha Abdul Radzak, Hadin Azman, Baddrol Bakhtiar, Rizal Ghazali, Syazwan Zainon, S. Veenod, Akram Mahinan

Forwards: Amri Yahyah, Safee Sali, Ahmad Hazwan Bakri

Photo: Asiana.my