Safawi, Akhyar, Syamer and Syahmi in U23 squad for AFC quals

Ong Kim Swee calls up best available Under-23 players to take Malaysia's challenge in the AFC U23 Championship qualifying round.

The tug of war battle has been won by Kim Swee as Safawi Rasid, Akhyar Rashid, Syamer Kutty Abba and Syahmi Safari all appeared in his U23 call-up list released by Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) today. The age-group squad has been given the priority over players in their quest to reach another U23 finals as well as the 2020 Olympics.

Malaysia will be hosting the qualifying group with Philippines, Laos and China being the opponents. All matches will be played at Shah Alam Stadium where only the winner of the group is guaranteed a spot in the finals while the runners-up will have to see if they are among the four best runners-up. 

There were also recalls for Pahang's Faisal Halim and Felda United's Danial Amier back into the team after they wre also unable to join the AFF U22 Championship held late February. Without his best players, Kim Swee's team crashed out at the group stage in that tournament.

This 27-man squad will be trimmed to 23 before the AFC tournament with a friendly arranged against Australia U22 side on March 17 being the deciding point for Kim Swee to choose his players. Most of the players will report to camp on March 10 with Super/Premier League players given until March 11 and Johor Darul Ta'zim players until March 13.

Squad in full:

Goalkeeper: Haziq Nadzli (JDT), Azri Ghani (Felda), 

Defender: Dominic Tan (JDT), Haris Kamarudin (JDTII), Shahrul Nizam (Kelantan), Nik Azli Nik Alias (Kelantan), R. Dinesh (Pahang), Ahmad Tasnim (Felda), Ariff Ariffin (PKNS), Evan Wensley (Sabah), Ariusdus Jais (Sabah), Amirul Ashraf (UiTM), Nazirul Afif (Perak), Syahmi Safari (Selangor)

Midfielder: Syamer Kutty Abba (JDT), Nik Akif Syahiran (Kelantan), Danial Haqim (Kelantan), Danial Amier (Felda), K Thivandaran (PJ City), Izan Syahmi (TFCII)

Forward: Akhyar Rashid (JDT), Safawi Rasid (JDT),  R. Kogileswaran (Pahang), Faisal Halim (Pahang), Jafri Chew (PKNS), Hadi Fayyadh (Fangiano)


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