Incomplete squad begins Malaysia's preparations for Hong Kong

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Eduardo Vingada brushed aside impact of absent players on the first day of Malaysia's training ahead of crunch qualifier against Hong Kong.

For the first time since Eduardo 'Nelo' Vingada took over as Malaysia's national team head coach, the training session was held at Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) grounds at Kelana Jaya. The last two national camps were held in Johor Bahru and Melaka respectively.

Only 17 players turned up on the first day of the training with six other players expected to arrive late Wednesday night. None of the Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) players were in attendance because of a club meeting that they had to attend while Nor Azam Azih was given a leave of absence due to family emergency.

Of the six JDT players called up, Hazwan Bakri will not join up with the team to prepare for the important Asian Cup qualifier away to Hong Kong because of injury.

"The training today is a light training and to recover. It's under control and no problem," said Vingada before the start of training on the squad turnout.

Syamer Kutty, Nor Azam Azih, Matthew Davies, Ifwat Akmal, Safawi Rasid and Nor Adam Azlin are the new players called for this latest international qualifier having starred for Malaysia in last month's SEA Games.

Vingada is adamant that these players will get a fair crack at the whip and should they impress in the times leading up to the Hong Kong match, they could possibly feature for the team.

"Before was not possible to call them because of their involvement in the SEA Games. Azam and Matt was with us before in the camp before Lebanon, so only four are here for the first time. I don't look for the age but I look for performance in the SEA Games as well as with their clubs. 

"We had a well-prepared plan for North Korea and we even sent officials there to make sure everything is in order. But the situation changed and we have to reorganise. We had to adapt and go tomorrow [Thursday]. It's not a convenient time but we have more days to prepare in Hong Kong," added Vingada.

Malaysia are currently last in Group B but have only played two games, an initial defeat to Lebanon in June that was followed by a 1-1 draw against next Tuesday's opponent, Hong Kong. The Malayan Tigers were supposed to play North Korea before meeting Hong Kong but directive from the Malaysian government meant that the match had to be postponed.

There will be one more training session on Thursday morning before the full squad flies out Hong Kong later that evening.

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