Tan Cheng Hoe gathers the troops once again for another round of international friendly matches as Malaysia continue the build-up towards the 2018 AFF Suzuki Cup in November.
This time around, Tan's boys will be facing up against Chinese Taipei (Sep 7) and Cambodia (Sep 10) with both matches being played out outside of Malaysia compared to the last two games that was played in Kuala Lumpur.
A squad of 27 players were called-up this time around but only 23 turned up on the first day of training on Monday. Tan went on to explain that the four absentees made the request to him for various reasons and he has approved their withdrawal from the squad.
"We called 27 players for this session but four players could not report. First is Rizal Ghazali who has a knee injury. Then Syafiq Ahmad requested time off to be with his new born. Safawi and Adam are both tired and I've given them the release this time," said Tan before Monday's training session.
After wins against Bhutan and Fiji in recent matches, Tan is hopeful that he will be able to administer more positive result for the national team that has been boosted by the presence of players that earned rave reviews in the recent Asian Games.
Azzizan Nordin, Shahrel Fikri, Norshahrul Idlan Talaha and Farizal Marlias are all in Tan's squad for the first time and the former Kedah head coach will be juggling his formation and tactics to test out these players.
The inclusion of the striking duo of Shahrel and Norshahrul is an interesting one as Tan look to sharpen up the attack that has relied heavily on the experienced body of Zaquan Adha.
"If we see Chinese Taipei in the last 2-3 years especially at home, they have been unbeaten. So it's not an easy task. But I'm hopeful that the players that I have can perform as well as giving opportunities to newer players," added Tan.