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Sumareh's absence gives TCH chances to assess options

11:30 BST 01/06/2019
Yusoff Mahadi, Tan Cheng Hoe, Malaysia, Airmarine Cup, 20032019
The winger has been an influential figure in the Malaysia side since his introduction but the friendly offers the chance to see alternative options.

The Pahang forward made his debut away to Maldives last year before going on to have a successful tournament in the AFF Cup last year. However his antics at the end of the loss in the final to Vietnam meant that he will have to sit out of the next four friendly matches due to suspension.

Yet the suspension in a non competitive match is likely to give Tan Cheng Hoe the opportunity to hand game time to untested players. Akhyar Rashid, Faisal Halim and Shahrel Fikri are just some of the possible candidates to fill Sumareh's slot.

Cheng Hoe will use the final 24 hours before Sunday's international friendly to decide who he will use against Nepal. The 51-year-old also warned his players not to take lightly the threat of Nepal, who have progressed well in recent times.

"Sumareh has played very well for us since the AFF Cup last year and it is unfortunate that we will be without him for the Nepal game. However, this also gives me a chance to test out others who could fill his position on the flanks.

"For tomorrow it's like a warm-up match or a test match for us. It's not the best yet, we're still finding the best option for the play-off game. We have one more training session then we will see who to field for tomorrow's match.

"Nepal have improved a lot in their game and of course we have to respect each team. They recently had a good result against Kuwait and they also have one of the best players in the Indonesian league. We will have to be careful and try to play our game," said Cheng Hoe in Saturday's pre-match press conference.

Malaysia's last match was back in March when they edged out Afghanistan for a 2-1 win after a humbling 1-0 defeat to arch rivals Singapore during the Airmarine Cup. The Nepal game of course is the build-up to the important double header against Timor Leste.

The matches on the 7th and 11th of June against Timor Leste will decide if Malaysia go through to the second round of the 2022 World Cup and 2023 Asian Cup joint qualifiers.

 

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