BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
Malaysia U23 head coach Dato' Ong Kim Swee has decided to drop Syafiq Ahmad from his 2018 AFC U23 Championship squad, after the forward failed to arrive for his first day of the centralised training camp on Monday.
Syafiq had been allowed to arrive to the camp over one week later than the rest of the team as he was getting married last Sunday, but he failed to arrive as scheduled on Monday, and did not contact the management of the team.
"I have decided to allow him to continue sorting out his personal affairs, and will not be needing his service for the tournament. I will simply choose the final squad from the 29 players currently present at the camp and will not call anyone to replace him.
"The team have been training for almost 10 days and their current fitness level is very good. If I were to call him we would have to conduct a separate session just for him, and I don't see how that can happen in a short time. I have to drop him," Ong told the press before conducting training at the Malaysian FA (FAM) headquarters early Tuesday evening, while adding that Syafiq had contacted him on Monday night.
He is not concerned with Syafiq's absence however, as there are ample replacements for him in the training squad.
"We have Sean [Eugene Selvaraj], Hadi [Fayyadh Abdul Razak] and many more. It's a shame that Syafiq won't be with us, but it means better opportunities for the younger boys to step up," he remarked.