PETALING JAYA: National chief coach Bertalan Bicskei is having problems finding prolific strikers for the Under-23 side preparing for the SEA Games, which will be held in Manila from Nov 27-Dec 5.
And the goalkeepers' coach, Lim Chuan Chin, is in the same boat in the search for a reliable number one.
Chuan Chin said yesterday that there are six players on trials in the current training camp at the Wisma FAM in Kelana Jaya here but none of them have had much first-team experience with their respective teams in the M-League.
Asked Chuan Chin: How are we to find a strong candidate when they do not get the chance to play for their respective teams?
On Saturday, the FA of Malaysia (FAM) wanted the team to bring back the gold medal from Manila but the lack of quality hands for key positions has raise much doubt over their chances.
When the trainees checked in for camp on Sunday, Bicskei said he only had one seasoned striker in the present squad Mohamed Fadzli Shaari but the Pahang reserve had been far from his best and managed only five goals for the Elephants in the Super League this season.
The other strikers in the team are Perak's Mohd Noor Ismail and Perlis' Mohd Ivan Yusof of Perlis, who were in the national senior squad that finished third in the Tiger Cup last year. But the duo too, played only substitute roles for their teams, who opted to field foreign strikers instead.
Chuan Chin faces a similar problem with inexperienced player in the goalkeepers' department Mohd Iqbal Suhaimi (Pahang), Mohd Anis Faron, Rusfazly Rahaman (Perlis), Mohd Hafiz Hamzah (Kedah), Saiful Amar Sudar (Kuala Lumpur) and Remezey Che Ros (Police).
They only get into the picture when the regular number one is injured or suspended. Otherwise, they warm the bench.
It is difficult for players like them to perform on a big stage like the SEA Games, said Chuan Chin.
Most of the up-and-coming goalkeepers don't get a fair chance to prove themselves.
They are expected to be perfect on their debut (in the SEA Games) and if they make a mistake, the critics will kill them. That is not fair. Young goalkeepers should be exposed from time to time.
Terengganu were one of the teams in the Premier League to learn a lesson the hard way. Their run to gain promotion were derailed after regular and international Syamsuri Mustaffa picked up a long-term injury. His absence saw the team slip from the top spot in Group B to eventually finish as the runners-up to Negri Sembilan.
At the last SEA Games in Vietnam in 2003, Syamsuri was the number one goalkeeper for the team who finished as the bronze medallist, but he is now over-aged.
Malaysia last won the SEA Games gold medal in the 1989 edition in Kuala Lumpur.
Goalkeepers: Mohd Iqbal Suhaimi (Pah), Mohd Anis Faron, Rusfazly Rahaman (Per), Mohd Hafiz Hamzah (Ked), Saiful Amar Sudar (Kul), Remezey Che Ros (Pol).
Defenders: Es Lizuan Zahid Amir, Azi Shahril Azmi (Per), Mohd Zulkifli Yusof (Pah), Ahmad Azlan Zainal (Prk), Azizul Ahmad Sabri, Mat Saiful Mohd (Pen), Ronny Harun, Rosdin Wasli (Sab), Mohd Aslam Najumudeen (MPPJ), Razman Roslan (Sel), Mohd Armanzairi Johan (PKNS), Ismail Suboh (Joh), M. Sivakumar (Joh FC), V. Santanadass, S, Sathiakumaran (Prk Jenderata), Mohd Faizal Desa (Kul), K. Lingam (Mal).
Midfielders: Harizaul Izuan Rani (Prk), Sumardi Hajalan (Sab), Mohd Badrul Azam (M. Tel), Ahmad Fauzi Shaari, Mohd Zulkifli Affendi (Ked), Mohd Ghazali Rashid (Nse), S. Tanabalan, (Prk Jenderata), Reeshafiq Alwi, Mohd Farij Mahayuddin (Kul), Mohd Fadzli Baharuddin (MPPJ), K. Puvindren Naidu (Pen NTFA), Zairo Anuar Zailani (Ter), Titus James (Kul).
Strikers: Mohd Fadzli Shaari (Pah), Amir Shareen Mubin (Pub. Bank), Azmizi Azmi (Per), Nor Shahrul Idlan Talaha, R. Surendran (Prk), Mohd Nizam Abu Bakar, Khairulzal Azmi Zahiruddin (M. Tel), S. Sritharan, Harris Safwan Kamal (Sel), Mohd Nor Farhan Mohd (Ter), Farid Ideris (Joh), Safee Sali (Kul), Azlan Ismail (Kel).