PETALING JAYA: National coach Tan Cheng Hoe has dropped three players after losing 0-1 to Jordan in the international friendly at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil on Friday.
Cheng Hoe said midfielder Faiz Nasir, and strikers Jafri Firdaus Chew and Ahmad Hazwan would not be part of his 24-member team for the second-round campaign in the World Cup 2022-Asia Cup 2023 qualifying tournament.
Malaysia face Indonesia at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta on Sept 5 and the United Arab Emirates on Sept 10 in Bukit Jalil.
“Hazwan has calibre but hasn’t had many minutes with his club and he struggles to keep up with the tempo of an international match. We’ll keep monitoring him in the Malaysia Cup, ” said Cheng Hoe.
“Faiz suffered a fever and is weak, we had to drop him. We wanted to give Jafri a chance but he has to work harder to be part of the national team.”
Even though only 23 players are allowed to be part of the qualifiers squad for both matches, Cheng Hoe decided to include one more as Mohamadou Sumareh is currently recovering from a groin injury.
“He suffered it when he played for Pahang before reporting for national duty. He is back in training, but we are monitoring his recovery. Hopefully, he recovers before the game against Indonesia.”
Cheng Hoe gave J. Partiban and Danial Amier Norhisham a chance to make their international debuts against Jordan but admitted the boys needed time to adapt to the rigours of international football.
“The standard is different between the league and international matches. They are doing well domestically, but they are still learning at the international level, ” he said.
“I want these players to learn from their mistakes.”
Overall, Cheng Hoe was impressed with the team’s performance against Jordan but admitted they wasted many chances to score.
The introduction of strikers Shahrel Fikri Md Fauzi and Ahmad Hazwan Bakri in the second-half should have solved the goalscoring problem, but they weren’t sharp enough.
“We can’t depend on strikers alone. The attacking midfielders and wingers should do their part for the team too, ” he added.