National U-23 football coach faces striking problems

  • Football
  • Wednesday, 25 Mar 2015

PETALING JAYA: Coach Razip Ismail is cracking his head to get his strikers firing on all cylinders as Malaysia head into Friday’s AFC Under-23 Championship qualifiers.

The team’s poor goals ratio per game is troubling Razip who has to make-do without injured first-choice striker Shafiq Shaharuddin. Injured Ramzi Haziq Mohamad may also be out when the 23-player squad are finalised on Thursday.

Razip has only three out-and-out forwards – Mohd Syafwan Syahlan, Mohd Faizat Ghazali and S. Kumaahran – in the team.

“Our strike force is a big concern. We could only score three goals in our last five friendlies. We clearly lack a targetman and Shafiq’s injury is a big blow to us,” said Razip.

“We are weak in attack so I’m planning to turn winger Muhammad Farhan Roslan and midfielder Mohd Ridzuan Abdunloh into strikers. I hope the players can repay my faith in them,” added the former international rightback.

Malaysia will open their Group I campaign against Vietnam at the Shah Alam Stadium on Friday. They will next play Macau on Sunday and heavyweights Japan on Tuesday.

The 10 group winners and best five runners-up will qualify for next year’s Finals in Qatar.

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