KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 12 — The national Under-23 squad’s chief coach Datuk Ong Kim Swee has dropped two more players, simultaneously completing a list of 20 players to represent the country at the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia next week.
The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) said in a statement that Kim Swee had dropped Kuala Lumpur goalkeeper Khatul Anuar Md Jalil and PKNS FC defender Rodney Celvin Akwensivie but called back Johor Darul Ta’zim II striker Hadi Fayyadh Abdul Razak who had just returned from a trial session in Japan recently.
Kim Swee, prior to this, was forced to drop Negeri Sembilan striker N. Thanabalan after an MRI test on Aug 9 found his knee injury required a longer period to heal.
FAM said two Kedah players, namely, Baddrol Bakhtiar, 30, and defender Mohd Rizal Ghazali, 26, would fill the permitted three over 23 years old quota but another slot could not be filled as two other senior players who were also registered in the early list of 30 players, previously, JDT player Aidil Zafuan Abd Radzak and Perak player Shahrul Saad were injured.
Baddrol was appointed as the team captain for the 2018 Asian Games squad.
The national U-23 squad would depart for Jakarta, Indonesia, tomorrow before proceeding to their hotel in Bandung.
Malaysia which was voted in Group E would kick off the 2018 Asian Games campaign by squaring off against the Kyrgyz Republic on Aug 15 and the Republic of Korea on Aug 17, at Si Jalak Harupat Stadium in Bandung.
Malaysia would face Bahrain in the final group E match at Stadium Wibawa Mukti, Cikarang on Aug 20.
Based on the format of the competition, the two best teams from each of the eight teams and four teams in third place from the best groups, would qualify for the second knock out round scheduled on Aug 23 and 24.
The quarter-final matches would take place on Aug 27 followed by the semi-finals on Aug 29, while the final would be on Sept 1.
The list of 20 players to the Asian Games: Muhammad Haziq Nadzli, Dominic Tan Jun Jin, Muhammad Safawi Rasid, Adam Nor Azlin, Muhammad Syafiq Ahmad (JDT); Muhammad Adib Zainuddin, Hadi Fayadh Abd Razak (JDT II); Baddrol Bakhtiar, Mohd Rizal Ghazali, Ifwat Akmal Chek Kassim, Muhd Akhyar Abdul Rashid (Kedah)
Muhammad Irfan Zakaria, Syazwan Andik Ishak (Kuala Lumpur):Faisal Abdul Halim, R. Kogileswaran (Pahang); Muhamad Daniel Amier Norhisham (Felda United); Nik Akif Syahiran Nik Mat (Kelantan); Muhamad Syazwan Zaipol Bahari (Perak); Tommy Mawat Bada (PJ Rangers FC); Muhammad Syahmi Safari (Selangor). — Bernama