The Malaysia Under-23 head coach Ong Kim Swee wasted no time in confirming that he has called up Firdaus from the Under-18 squad to beef up his goalkeeping options after the move of Haziq Nadzli from his squad to the senior side. That after Kim Swee was present at the Olympic Stadium in Phnom Penh to witness Firdaus in action against Thailand.
Captain of the U19 side, Firdaus had a sterling tournament in the qualifiers where he played in three of the four group matches and kept two clean sheets in the process. While he did concede four goals in the opening match against Cambodia, two red cards suffered by Malaysia in that match did not help his cause.
While impressed with what he saw, Kim Swee has no plans to give Firdaus an easy ride as he expects the young custodian to be competing on level grounds with the other goalkeepers in his squad, a policy he intends to uphold for the rest of the positions too.
"Not 5 but 6 (U19 players) with the inclusion of the goalkeeper Firdaus Irman. We know Haziq is now with the senior team, so I have to call Firdaus to my team. They will only report to training on the 14th because I want to give them time to recharge their batteries.
"If we look at the players who are available, there are of course those who are 20 years old or 21. But Firdaus just completed a tournament so he's in a fit condition. Whether he gets selected or not in the final squad, he will get a good experience.
"It all depends on their training and the friendly match against PJ City on the 15th. After that I will drop some players. No one has an automatic place. Everyone has to fight and if they put up a good performance, then they will be in the team. Don't forget we still have those from the senior team coming in," said Kim Swee before Monday's training session.
The other players from the U19 squad that has been given the same opportunity are Luqman Hakim, Harith Haiqal, Umar Hakeem, Mukhairi Ajmal and Azam Azmi. These players are likely to go into Thursday's training in great mood and confidence after qualifying for the 2020 AFC U19 Championship by finishing top of Group G.
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