PETLING JAYA, Sept 25 – National football coach Tan Cheng Hoe is simply lost for words when reads some weird comments on social media when the FA of Malaysia (FAM) released the names of the 24-players called up for national training.
The 24 players named for the two Tier 1 friendly matches against Jordan and Uzbekistan next month as part of Harimau Malaya’s preparations for the AFF Suzuki Cup 2020 later this year and also next year’s Asia Cup third round qualifiers.
As the head coach, Cheng Hoe, rested some of the senior players from eight-time Malaysian Super League champions Johor Darul Takzim (JDT) plus others like Junior Eldstal (Chonburi FC, Thai League), Liridon Krasniqi (Newcastle Jets, Australian League) and Norshahrul Idlan Talaha (Sarawak United).
Those missing from the JDT list are Farizal Marlias, Corbin Ong, Syamer Kuty Abba, Arif Aiman, and Safawi Rasid. Instead, newcomers Quentin Cheng and Al Hafiz Harun (Penang FC, Mukhairi Ajmal Mahadi, Shahrul Nazeen Zulpakar (Selangor FC), Hakimi Abdullah (Terengganu FC), Kallamullah Al-Hafiz (Petaling Jaya City FC) have been called up.
“It is not my decision alone when picking the squad. We have a coaching panel for selection of national players. There are several factors that are taken into account. Selection is on merit and the current form of the player plays a part in this matter,” said Cheng Hoe.
Football is top ranked sport in Malaysia, but, lately, there is a growing trend of “social media coaches and selectors” who want to decide on the players.
When the national squad for the World Cup/Asia Cup qualifiers was named there was an outcry when Hakimi Abdullah, Faisal Halim were not named. This time around, Cheng Hoe is again taking the flak in social media when several JDT players were left out for a much needed rest from football.
“It is not easy to please everyone. There are certain criteria in picking the players. This is national duty. We want only the best…those who can fit into the system to carry our challenge,” added Cheng Hoe.
“The stakes are high. So is the responsibility that is shouldered by all in the team…from the management to the coaches.”
Malaysia will play Jordan at the King Abdullah Stadium in Amman on Oct 6. The second match is against Uzbekistan at the Amman International Stadium, Amman on Oct 9.
In the AFF Suzuki Cup, Malaysia, champions in 2010, is drawn in B with defending champions Vietnam, Indonesia, Cambodia and Laos. Group A has Thailand, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore and the winner of the qualifying round between Brunei and Timor Leste.
The AFF Suzuki Cup will be played from Dec 5 and the final is scheduled on Jan 1, 2022.

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