BY K. RAJAN
PETALING JAYA: It’s just a friendly match against the world 181 ranked side but the pressure is on national coach Datuk K. Rajagopal and his team to beat Sri Lanka at the Shah Alam Stadium on Saturday.
The FA of Malaysian (FAM) and national team are under heavy fire after the latest FIFA rankings saw them plunge to 156 in the world.
The FAM bigwigs, who live in a world of their own, may think that the higher the number the better the ranking, but the fans know how bad it really is.
Rajagopal has demanded a better performance than the embarrassing 1-1 draw against the Philippines in their last international friendly on Feb 29.
“We must beat Sri Lanka. It’s as simple as that,” said Rajagopal after the training session at Wisma FAM yesterday.
“I want to see an improvement over the performance against the Philippines. We have quite a number of new players in the team and I want to see how they cope.
“The players are doing well in training. We now have a pool of 60-70 players which will be trimmed to 30-40 soon.”
Rajagopal had called up 26 players for the centralised training minus the Terengganu, Kedah and Kelantan players who are involved in the FA Cup semi-finals.
All reported for training on Monday except hotshot striker Mohd Safee Sali who will join camp tomorrow.
Sri Lanka, ranked a lowly181 and coached by former South Korean international Jang Jung, are expected to arrive tomorrow.
Malaysia’s friendly matches are now increasingly against lower ranked teams but even that is proving to be an impossible task for the toothless Tigers. FAM are running out of excuses — 30 years of them.
Goalkeepers:Farizal Marlias (Negeri Sembilan), G Jeevananthan (Selangor), Sani Anuar Kamsani (Sarawak)
Defenders:Fadhli Shas, Mahali Jasuli (Harimau Muda A), Aidil Zafuan Radzak, Amirizwan Taj Tajuddin (ATM), Shahrom Kalam (Perak), Azmizi Azmi (Kedah), Helmi Rameli (PKNS), Asrarudin Putra Omar (Selangor), Nizam Abu Bakar (Felda United)
Midfielders: S Kunanlan, Shahurain Abu Samah (Negeri Sembilan), Bunyamin Omar, K. Gurusamy, Safiq Rahim (Selangor), Amar Rohidan (Kedah), Ashri Chuchu (Sarawak), Rozaimi Abdul Rahman (Sabah), Wan Zack Haikal Wan Nor (Harimau Muda A)
Strikers: Safee Sali (Pelita Jaya FC), Ahmad Hazwan Bakri (Harimau Muda A), Ahmad Shakir Md Ali (Negeri Sembilan), Azamuddin Akil (Pahang), Faiz Subri (T-Team)
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