Who will be the backup to Izham until August?

Izham Tarmizi - Johor Darul Ta'zim JDT
Johor Darul Ta'zim
With Farizal Marlias suspended, who could be the backup to Izham Tarmizi until Haziq Nadzli returns from national duty?

Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) and new head coach Ulisses Morais will have to put on their thinking hat following the announcement of the Malaysia Under-22 squad list and their forthcoming plans to prepare for tournaments in the month of July and August.

JDT's 19-year-old goal keeper Haziq Nadzli has been named in that squad of 26 players and with the year-long suspension handed down on Farizal Marlias by Asian Football Confederation (AFC), it leaves JDT with just Izham Tarmizi as the sole senior keeper available.

Even though the mid-season transfer window has closed, the option remains available for JDT to get a new keeper into the squad - albeit via Johor Darul Ta'zim II (JDTII). This is because JDT can invoke the "Feeder Club" rules that allows them to transfer three local players between the two teams, outside of the transfer window.

The Southern Tigers had already utilised one of those three spots earlier in the season by moving Hadi Fayyah from JDTII to JDT and has two options remaining as they look to fill the gaps during Haziq's absence.

Should Haziq as expected, leave for the national training - he could potentially miss up to 12 matches for the reigning Super League champions. While Izham is expected to be the first choice with Farizal suspended, JDT would still need a backup keeper should anything befall Izham during that period.

This could mean a door opening up for one of K. Sasi Kumar, Ernest Wong or Samuel Somerville to make the step up. The three JDTII keeper who are 28-years-old, 26-years-old and 22-years-old respectively would undoubtedly benefit from the move to train and learn from the more elite unit between the two squads.

If Izham can maintain his discipline and fitness through the resumption of the domestic season on 1 July until 9 August, it would be hard to imagine one of the trio getting any game time but the importance remains there to have a backup option on the bench, in the off-chance that something happens to Izham.

When training resumes after the Raya holidays - Sasi Kumar, Wong and Somerville will not only be pushing each other for the chance to be the first choice under Benjamin Mora in the Premier League but could also be fighting amongst themselves for that coveted move to JDT.