PETALING JAYA: National coach Allan Harris has picked 21 players, including 10 news faces, for trials in the first phase of centralised training with the national Under-22 squad preparing for the pre-Olympics football campaign, which kicks off in May.
Among the newcomers in the training squad, who will report at the Wisma FAM in Kelana Jaya on Sunday are schoolboy Zulbadly Ismail from the Sports School in Bukit Jalil, K. Thayalan from Premier II club side Selangor Public Bank and Suazman Ariffin from the Police football team.
The Englishman said he would finally get down to work with the boys after they had been idle for two months due to the cancellation of friendly matches against Finland and Norway in January.
“Most of the players are from the previous Under-23 squad while the rest are from the Under-19 side, so I'm quite familiar with most of them. The only problem is that we had a two-month break since the Tiger Cup in December. They will get to play a friendly game before they go back to their respective teams in the league. In April, we will have a full month long session,'' said Harris yesterday.
The FA of Malaysia (FAM) have finally managed to arrange a friendly for the national Under-22 boys after Norway, Finland and even a club side from USA - Charlotte Eagles – had failed to come for sparring matches with the boys.
“We will be playing a game against the Maldives national team and then against Jordan before they open their campaign in the pre-Olympics. Having the players for a week is a start,” he said.
Among the familiar faces are Akmal Rizal Rakhli, Juzaili Samion, Irwan Fadli Idrus, Indra Putra Mahayuddin, Norhafiz Zamani Misbah, Syamsuri Mustafa, Saiful Sabtu, Redzuan Radzy, K. Rajan, Aziz Ismail and Marzuki Yusof.
The other new faces are Zulkifli Affendy Zakri, Azwan Malik, Zairo Anuar, Mohamed Farid Ideris, S. Gopinath, Mohamed Saufi Ibrahim and Mohamed Anis Faron Arsidi.
Malaysia, who have been seeded for the pre-Olympics tournament, have been given a bye in the first round. They will play the winners of the match between Turkmenistan and India in the second round on May 3. They will play the return-leg on June 7.
There are three major assignments for Harris this year, starting with the pre-Olympics for the Under-23 boys from May 3-Oct 18, the pre-Asian Cup for the national team from Aug 19 to Feb 18 next year, and finally the Vietnam SEA Games from Dec 1-15, which will be an Under-23 competition.
Irwan Fadli Idrus, Akmal Rizal Rakhli (Ked) Redzuan Radzi, Norhafiz Zamani Misbah, Saiful Sabtu, K. Rajan (Nse) Indra Putra Mahayuddin (Prk) Mazuki Yusof, Zairo Anuar, Mohd Syamsuri Mustafa (Ter) Zulkifli Affendy Zakri, Azwan Malik (Kul) Mohd Saufi Ibrahim, S.Gopinath, Abdul Aziz Ismail (Pen) Juzaili Samion (Pah) Mohamed Anis Faron Arsidi (Per) Zulbadly Ismail (B. Jalil) Mohd Farid Ideris (Joh) Suazman Ariffin (Police) K. Thayalan (Selangor Public Bank)