PETALING JAYA: The last time national coach Datuk K. Rajagopal unleashed his best men, they won the 2010 Suzuki Cup.
Now, he is ready to reunite them for the international “A” friendlies against the Philippines and Singapore next month.
Rajagopal is expected to put his best men to test after picking a strong squad of 26 players, including lethal strikers Mohd Safee Sali, Norshahrul Idlan Talaha, S. Chanturu and Ahmad Shakir Ali.
The key midfielders in the national squad are Safiq Rahim. K. Gurusamy, S. Kunalan, Mohd Ashaari Shamsuddin, Amar Rohidan and Mohd Khyril Muhymeen while the defenders include Mohd Asraruddin Putra, Mahalli Jasuli, Mohd Fadhli Shas and Mohd Aidil Zafuan. The top goalkeepers are Khairul Fahmi Che Mat and Mohd Sharbinee Allawee.
Earlier this year, Rajagopal identified a big pool of 66 players and put most of the new faces to test together with a few selected seniors in the last five friendly matches.
This time, Rajagopal has all of his best men available for the warm-up matches.
They are scheduled to play against the Philippines at the Shah Alam Stadium on June 1. They will then take on Singapore at the Jalan Besar Stadium on June 8 before playing the return match at the Shah Alam Stadium on June 12.
In July, the national team will be up against visiting English Premier League sides Arsenal (July 24) and Manchester City (July 30).
“This is a gradual build-up towards the Suzuki Cup in November. So far, I haven’t got the full team because the players from Kelantan will only report for training on Sunday,” said Rajagopal yesterday.
Kelantan have a Super League match against Johor FC at the Pasir Gudang Stadium tonight.
The national team are preparing to defend the Suzuki Cup in the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Championship to be co-hosted by Malaysia and Thailand from Nov 24-Dec 22.
The Malaysian Squad:
Amar Rohidan, Khyril Muhymeen Zamri, Mat Sabree Abu (Ked); Bunyamin Umar, Safiq Rahim, Mohd Asraruddin Putra, K. Gurusamy (Sel); Ahmad Shakir Ali, Mohd Farizal Marlias, Shahurain Abu Samah, S. Kunalan (Nse); S. Chanturu, Norshahrul Idlan Talaha, S. Subramaniam, Mohd Shakir Shaari, Khairul Fahmi Che Mat (Kel); Mohd Sharbinee Allawee, Mohd Ashaari Shamsuddin, Mohd Faizal Mohd (Ter); Mohd Aidil Zafuan, Amiridzwan Taj Tajudin (ATM); Mahalli Jasuli, Mohd Fadhli Shas, Wan Zack Haikal Wan Nor (Harimau Muda A); Mohd Faiz Subri (T-Team); Mohd Safee Mohd Sali (Pelita Jaya FC).
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