OKS cuts Danial in last-minute change

Malaysia named their final 20-man squad for the 2018 Asian Games with the target of the final 16 in mind but was forced into a last-minute shuffle.

The final list of 20 players have been revealed and Malaysia should be heading into the 2018 Asian Games competition full of confidence inspite of the incidents that happened to the team last Friday.

While the fracas at the end of the United Arab Emirates friendly match dominates the headlines, it must not go unnoticed that Ong Kim Swee has had a good two weeks working with the squad.

The squad was trimmed a further two players after N. Thanabalan's withdrawal due to injury and still there was one surprise name in the flight to Indonesia on Monday morning.

Hadi Fayyadh returned from his trial stint in Japan just in time to give Malaysia an attacking boost in the centre striker position, one that had to rely on the sole figure of Syafiq Ahmad in recent weeks.

PKNS FC's Rooney Akwensivie and Kuala Lumpur's Khatul Annuar were the two players cut from the team as Ong decides to put his faith on the tried and tested players.

"This is our best list and i'm confident that all the players are able to perform, including Hadi that will give us more options in attack."

"Danial started training with us today and it looks positive. He will probably be involved only from the second match onwards.

"The players today have put the event (UAE fight) to the past and are focus on training. They know what to do and we do not need to think about it. We need to ensure that we are ready for the first match," said Ong on Sunday.

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Ong is putting a lot of hope on Felda United's Danial Amier to recover in time for what is undoubtedly the tougher two games of the group, against South Korea and Bahrain. Danial put in a tremendous performance in the January AFC U23 Championship but has been blighted by injuries since.

However at the final hours before departure to Indonesia and upon consultation with the team doctors, Ong finally decided that he could not take the risk and Danial was dropped and Rodney recalled back into the squad.

Malaysia start their Asian Games campaign with the opening match against Kyrgyzstan on August 15.