Interim coach for the national team, Datuk Ong Kim Swee, has admitted that there are a few reasons why he did not call Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) striker Norshahrul Idlan Talaha to be a part of his setup against the Philippines this Sunday.
Kim Swee's choice not to include Norshahrul in his 23 man squad to travel to Cebu has surprised many, as the striker has been part of the national setup ever since Datuk K.Rajagopal was in charge.
According to Utusan, Kim Swee stated, “My reason why I did not call Mat Yo is simple, because he did not play in JDT’s first eleven that often.”
Kim Swee also added that he did not wish to make too many changes as they already have Safee Sali, Bobby Gonzales and Fakri Saarani at their disposal.
The last time Norshahrul was called up to the national team was during Malaysia’s 0-0 draw against Philippines in early March.
Kim Swee also stated that currently he favours Terengganu striker Nor Farhan Muhammad instead of Norshahrul in the striking position.
“As of right now, Nor Farhan is much better than Mat Yo,” added the current interim head coach, who took charge of the national team early this year from Datuk K.Rajagopal.
Before this, Norshahrul was involved in controversy as he decided not to report for duty when he was called-up last month, due to personal reasons. However Mat Yo changed his mind and returned to the team, only to watch the game from the bench.