TCH aiming to identify new Malaysia core

Tan Cheng Hoe, Malaysia
Tan Cheng Hoe is looking to use the next few training camps to build the core of players that will lead Malaysia into the 2018 AFF Suzuki Cup.

Malaysia will play Fiji in an international friendly match on Thursday at KLFA Stadium in Cheras and Tan Cheng Hoe is hoping that the match will provide his players with a specific kind of test, despite the quality of the opposition.

Yet, Fiji sit higher than Malaysia in the FIFA rankings - Fiji are at 165 while Malaysia are at 171. A win against Fiji would give Malaysia a big boost in terms of ranking points and move the team further up the rankings.

Fiji lost 3-2 to Philippines in the last match they played back in March and last faced Malaysia in June 2016 when the match ended 1-1. Malaysia's last match played was a 7-0 thumping handed to Bhutan.

"All 24 players reported for training, including the four replacement in Syawal, Syahrul, Kenny and Shafiq. Today is more on recovery session because this is the first day of training but over the next few days we will do more tactical work before the friendly."

"We know Fiji are famous in rugby but they have been improving in football. Their physicality is one are that we are looking to test.

"We want to take this opportunity to give chances to test players but this is not final and we could be looking to include others in the future. In September or October, hopefully we can identify the core players to take to the Suzuki Cup," said Tan before the training session on Tueday.

Conspicious in their absences from the squad are the duo playing in Thailand although it was understandable that the call-up was done when Shahrel Fikri was still a PKNP FC player involved in the FA Cup. Yet, the decision not to pick Curran Ferns who is starting most games for Thai Sukhothai FC since his move there. 

As well as that, Johor Darul Ta'zim's Farizal Marlias is also putting in some splendid performances lately and in the domesitc competition is arguably the goalkeeper in the best form, but also was not part of the list named by Tan and his coaching staff.

"They [Curran and Farizal] are still being observed. We know that Currans is playing in Thailand but I have other players who can play the way I want. As for Farizal, he's an experienced keeper and we may still call him up in the future," explained Tan.