BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
Malaysia U22 head coach Datuk Ong Kim Swee has confirmed that he will not include the injured Perak midfielder Ahmad Khairil Anuar Ahmad Zamri in his squad, when they travel to China for a series of friendlies next week.
Khairil picked up the injury in the early days of the centralised training camp earlier this week, and had been a doubt for Ong.
Apart from Khairil, who is also known as Beto by his teammates and fans, Felda United's Ahmad Azriddin Rosli and Sarawak winger Nur Shamie Iszuan Amin are also injured and will stay behind.
"Beto's condition is quite serious, so we have to be careful, and we have only around one week before we leave for China.
"So I have made the decision to leave him behind to undergo rehabilitation with the ISN (National Sports Institute).
"He will rejoin us when we return from China, as well as Felda's Azriddin and Sarawak's Nur Shamie," explained Ong when met by the press before the team's training session on Thursday evening.
Ahmad Khairil Anuar (left) playing for Malaysia U22 in 2016. Photo by Asiana.my.
Ong has called up the trio's replacements; Irfan Zakaria, Sean Eugene Selvaraj and Kalaiharasan Letchumanan, who were seen already joining the training at the Malaysian FA headquarters on Thursday.
"The injured players will be replaced by Kalai and Sean from Negeri Sembilan, and former Malaysia U22 squad member Irfan from Kuala Lumpur.
"They have arrived at the camp today (Thursday), and I will evaluate their performance before we leave for China," said Ong.
However, Ong is not too concerned with Khairil's absence, saying that he is likely to be fit on time for the 2018 U23 AFC Championship qualifiers in July, or the 2017 SEA Games in August.
"We know that Beto has been a mainstay of the team and has his own credibility.
"But I believe there will not be a problem if I were to recall him before the AFC qualifiers or the SEA Games.
"What's more important is that the players in the squad must prove that they are able to perform well," Ong stated.
Malaysia U22 will travel to China from June 8 to June 16 to play in three friendlies. The friendlies are preparation for the U23 AFC Championship qualifiers in July, as well as the 2017 SEA Games, which will be held in Kuala Lumpur this August.
In China they are lined up to play two Chinese Super League sides' youth teams, as well as the China U22 national team. After the Young Tigers' China trip, they will return and continue training together until June 23.