PETALING JAYA: National coach Dollah Salleh is set to face a defensive crisis after naming his final 22-man squad for the AFF Suzuki Cup on Monday.
Centreback Mohd Muslim Ahmad will miss Malaysia’s opening match against Myanmar at the Jalan Besar Stadium this weekend after he was red carded in the 3-1 defeat to Vietnam in their final warm-up match on Sunday.
The other centreback in the team – Afif Amirudin – is doubtful with a hamstring injury.
Dollah has dropped winger R. Gopinathan and defender Mohd Aidil Zaquan Abdul Razak after the duo failed to shrug of their injuries. The other two who will not see action are diminutive flanker Wan Zaharulnizam Zakaria and teenage midfielder Mohd Farhan Roslan.
“I came to the decision after talking with my backroom staff. Aidil and Gopi are injured so I have no choice but to drop them,” said the former international.
“Farhan and Wan Zaharulnizam were left out due to their inexperience.”
Dollah said that Muslim’s red card affected their game plan against Vietnam.
“Overall we played well in the first half, we created a lot of goal-scoring chances but we could only make one count. In the second half, the players made silly mistakes and the red card just spoiled everything,” said Dollah.
Malaysia had only won one out of their five international matches, leaking 12 goals and twice ending the match with 10 men after defenders Mohd Fadhli Shas and Muslim picked up red cards.
Malaysia are drawn in Group B with hosts Singapore, Myanmar and Thailand in the biennial tournament. The team will leave for the Lion City on Friday.