The last time Aidil Zafuan put on the Malaysia jersey was at My Dinh Stadium in the 2018 AFF Championship final second leg against Vietnam and 10 months after that match, he is in-line to play against the same team at the same stadium for his next international match.
After going with comparatively more youthful options in the call-up between those 10 months, Malaysia's head coach Tan Cheng Hoe is seemingly turning back to the vastly experienced Aidil for a defence that were not able to keep a single clean sheet in the three matches played in September.
A narrow 1-0 defeat to Jordan was followed by a 3-2 win over Indonesia before United Arab Emirates' come from behind 2-1 win in the matches played earlier this month where Shahrul Saad and Adam Nor Azlin were the preferred candidates in the heart of Malaysia's defence.
Neither had 270 minutes of commanding performance with lapses in concentration being the key denominator for both players. Having a vocal leader like Aidil at the back could help to alleviate some of the defensive problem as Malaysia look to get back into winning ways in Group G of the 2022 World Cup qualification.
Shahrul and Aidil formed a solid partnership during Malaysia's run to the final last year and their combination could be rejuvenated as Cheng Hoe look to get one over Park Hang-seo for the first time, having failed to beat the South Korean in the previous three times that they have faced each other.
The only other change in the squad is the inclusion of Selangor's Halim Saari, with the central midfielder taking over the place of Hadin Azman who moves to the standby list. Hadin was handed a start at Gelora Bung Karno last time round but looked to dropped out of favour after a shocking performance there.
Malaysia will start with an international friendly against Sri Lanka on Oct 5 in Kuala Lumpur before flying out to play Vietnam (Oct 10) in the qualifier before rounding up the month with an away friendly against Hong Kong (Oct 15).
Squad in full;
Goalkeeper: Farizal Marlias, Hafizul Hakim, Ifwat Akmal
Defender: Dominc Tan, Adam Nor Azlin, Aidil Zafuan, La'Vere Corbin-Ong, Shahrul Saad, Nazirul Naim, Matthew Davies, Syahmi Safari, Irfan Zakaria
Midfielder: Akram Mahinan, Halim Saari, Syamer Kutty Abba, Brendan Gan, Nor Azam Azih, Daniel Amier
Forward: Mohamadou Sumareh, Safawi Rasid, Akhyar Rashid, Syafiq Ahmad, Norshahrul Idlan Talaha, J. Partiban, Shahrel Fikri
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