PETALING JAYA: The inclusion of Syihan Hazmi in Malaysia’s training squad for the final round of the Asian Cup 2023 qualifiers may have surprised many but Negri Sembilan coach K. Devan believes the lanky shot-stopper’s selection was the right choice.
National coach Kim Pan-gon has shortlisted Syihan, whose career has been revived by Devan, as one of the 29 players for centralised training that began yesterday.
The 1.85m tall player, who was part of the national Under-23 squad that reached the quarter-finals of the 2018 AFC Under-23 Champion-ships, endured a 20-month ban for failing a doping test while competing in the tournament and returned to play for Petaling Jaya City in 2020.
But lack of playing time saw Syihan moving to Negri where he has been having a brilliant season.
“Looking at his physique, no Malaysian keeper who is tall and big possesses his ability. He is hard to beat in one-on-one situations and very good in shot-stopping and positioning.
“He will only get better with experience. He is after all just 25,” said Devan.
“Syihan was getting quality exposure as a young player.
“Coach K. Rajagopal even gave him a senior cap when he was just 18.
“I was the one who took him to PJ City but Kalamullah (Al Hafiz) was the first choice then.
“I expect Syihan to improve with every match.”
THE TRAINING SQUAD
Goalkeepers: Farizal Marlias (JDT), Kalamullah Al-Hafiz Mat Rowi (PJ CIty), Khairulazhan Khalid (Sel), Ahmad Syihan Hazmi Mohd (NS).
Defenders: Syahmi Safari (JDT), Shahrul Saad (JDT), Corbin-Ong La’vere Lawrence (JDT), Matthew Davies (JDT), Khair Jefri Jones (NS), Ahmad Khuzaimi Piee (NS), Dominic Tan (Sab), Dion Cools (SV Zulte), Junior Eldstal (Chonburi.
Midfielders: Syamer Kutty Abba (JDT), Nazmi Faiz Mansor (JDT), Safiq Rahim (JDT), Arif Aiman Hanapi (JDT), Safawi Rasid (JDT), Akhyar Rashid (JDT), Mohamadou Sumareh (JDT), Afiq Fazail (JDT), M. Kogileswaran Raj (PJ City), Faisal Abdul Halim (Ter), Nor Azam Abdul Azih (Pah), Liridon Krasniqi (Odisha).
Strikers: Guilherme De Paula (JDT), Darren Lok (PJ City), Syafiq Ahmad (Ked), Norshahrul Idlan Talaha (Mel).