AFF Suzuki Cup, Featured, Football

Azraai Khor urges OKS to field a defensive midfielder against Vietnam

Former Kedah FA boss Azraai Khor Abdullah has urged Datuk Ong Kim Swee to use a defensive midfielder when they face Vietnam in their second AFF Suzuki Cup match on Wednesday.

According to the 64 year-old coach, Malaysia’s defensive frailties were significantly exposed against Cambodia and it’s due in no small part to the absence of a defensive-minded midfielder. But as far as he’s concerned, Harimau Malaysia cannot afford to make that mistake against Vietnam.

Photo Credit: Sabah FA
Photo Credit: Sabah FA

“It was definitely not wise to not play a defensive midfielder. Our back-four is very fragile and they need protection,” he told

“Meeting Vietnam won’t be easy for our players. As you saw during their match against Myanmar, these guys play as a tight unit. They have great fitness levels and the pace within their team will give us a lot of problems.

“Our back-four needs to settle down and they also need protection if we are going to effectively stop Vietnam’s attackers,” he added.

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Photo Credit:

OKS opted for a midfield duo of Irfan Fazail and Baddrol Bakthiar last weekend, but he’s already hinted at the possibility of ringing the changes for Wednesday evening’s clash. Having said that, one player who would undoubtedly retain his spot on the starting eleven is Syazwan Zainon.

The Kedah winger was arguably Malaysia’s best player on the pitch over the weekend, scoring their first goal of the match, besides creating countless other opportunities for the team. His outstanding showing did catch fans by surprise but Azraai knew what Ong would get out of him, given his modest and unpretentious approach to life and football.

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Photo Credit:

“I’ve known Syazwan for a very long time. He’s played in a host of different teams but with Kedah, he has improved so much over the last one year. But he has always been a simple ‘kampung’ boy who never wants to create any problems for anyone. He’s a humble guy and always respects everyone around him.

“Even with the national team, you can see that he gets along with all his teammates. That’s Syazwan for you,” Azraai concluded.

Having opened their AFF Suzuki Cup campaign with a 3-2 win over Cambodia on Sunday, Malaysia will next take on Vietnam tomorrow, before facing hosts Myanmar on the 26th of November.

What are your thoughts on Azraai Khor’s opinion? Let us know by commenting below!

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