The Harimau Malaysia squad will be making their way to the Philippines on the 20th March for a friendly match against the Azkals in preparation for the impending 2019 Asian Cup matches.
The Philippines vs Malaysia friendly will be happening on the 22nd of March at the Rizal Memorial Stadium, Manila, 7.30 pm.
Don’t underestimate the friendly – OKS
Malaysia’s national football team head coach Datuk Ong Kim Swee has urged his players not to underestimate this fixture just because it’s a friendly. According to Datuk Ong Kim Swee, every match is important as it will help the team assess their performance and to improve their international ranking.
“We cannot underestimate this friendly game because it can give a lot of impact to our positions in the ranking,” Datuk Ong Kim Swee told Goal.com.
Nazirul Naim out, but it’s not a problem
Datuk Ong Kim Swee is also faced with task of replacing an injured Nazirul Naim, a defender from Perak who was called up for national duty. Nazirul sustained a shoulder injury during the FA Cup fixture against Kedah, where the Red Eagles won 2-0.
According to health reports received, Nazirul Naim has been deemed unfit and had to be dropped from the national squad.
However, Datuk Ong Kim Swee does not see that as a problem for his defensive line. Armed with players like Matt Davies, Khair Jones, Fadhli Shas, and Rizal Ghazali, he is optimistic that he can make things work without the 24-year old Perak defender.
“Khair Jones can play in left-back position, Matt Davies used to play there during AFF Suzuki Cup as well as Fadhli Shas. Rizal Ghazali can play on the right-back position.” Datuk Ong Kim Swee spoke of his defensive strategy.
Apart from that, Datuk Ong Kim Swee also stressed on the importance of having a good relationship with the football clubs, so it doesn’t create any friction between the clubs and the national team.
“The players will be released after the game because some of them involved in the FA Cup quarter-final. I believe they can get good rest and club can prepare their players well.” he added.
The Malaysian Tigers checked in to the Wisma FAM last Monday in preparations for the international friendly and the 2019 Asian Cup qualifiers.