Malaysia’s 20-man SEA Games squad profile

Ong Kim Swee named his Malaysia under-22 squad for the SEA Games on Saturday. FourFourTwo takes a look at each of the 20 players that made the cut in the nation’s search for the mother of all gold medals, which starts against Brunei on Monday.

IFWAT AKMAL CHEK KASSIM

Age: 21

Position: Goalkeeper

Club: Kedah

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The custodian has grown in strength since disposing Farhan Abu Bakar between the sticks at Kedah last year.

Having the won the 2016 Malaysia Cup and 2017 FA Cup with the Red Eagles, Ifwat should not be perturbed by the occasion. He was also the first pick during the AFC Under-23 qualifiers in Bangkok in July.

HAZIQ NADZLI

Age: 19

Position: Goalkeeper

Club: JDT

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The Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) reserve goalkeeper made the squad ahead of Terengganu’s Amierul Hakimi Awang and is expected to play second fiddle to Ifwat at the Games.

Haziq was among the players recalled to the squad after not being released by the Southern Tigers for the AFC Under-23 qualifiers last month.

ARIFF FARHAN ISA

Age: 21

Position: Left-back

Club: Kedah

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Ariff was a squad member in the 2015 Singapore edition but he is expected to get more game time this time around. Ariff had his first taste of football in this age group after being included in the 2013 AFC Under-23 qualifiers when he was just 16.

Expected to play in a left-wingback role, the former Harimau Muda product has shrugged off injuries that hampered his 2016 season to return with impressive performances for Kedah this season.

ADIB ZAINUDDIN

Age: 22

Position: Centre-back

Club: Felcra

Handed the captaincy after Faris Shah Rosli picked up a long-term injury towards the end of last year, the lanky Adib is a good reader of the game.

Speed, however, is something he is lacking and that could cost him a place in the starting 11 if Ong opts to go with quicker players.

The university student dropped to the third-tier FAM League in 2017 in order to get plenty of game time and make the SEA Games squad.

ADAM NOR AZLIN

Age: 21

Position: Centre-back

Club: Selangor

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Though normally an attacking player, Adam seems to have found his place as a member of Malaysia’s back three.

Adam, who featured in the previous Games, has plenty of experience under his belt right from his Harimau Muda days to time with Selangor. The Games could be a defining moment in his career.

Adam is expected to wear the armband, should Adib fail to make the starting 11.

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