Lahore, 17 Feb: A hamstring injury during camp ruled out lanky striker Izzaq Faris Ramlan from Pakistan-Malaysia Olympic Qualifier. Shah Alam Stadium will host first leg on 23 February 2011 (8.45 PM Kick Off). His injury opened the door for Thamil Arasu and Syahrul Azwai Ibrahim to start upfront.
Kemaman-born Izzaq was called up by Malaysia coach K.Rajagobal for their friendly match in Turkey in 2010 and after several good matches with National U21 team, known as Harimau Muda A, he was called up for the Malaysian team which participated in the 16th Asian Games. He ws also part of Malaysia that won the 2010 AFF Suzuki Cup tittle for the first time in their history.
Malaysia U21 coach coach Ong Kim Swee has warned his team against taking their places in the Olympic squad for granted after defensive lapses led to team’s downfall in recent matches used by Malaysia as preparation for the Olympic qualifiers. “Mistakes do happen in a match and the boys need to be alert from start to the end. We have a few experienced players in the team and I need them to set a good example and guide the other players,” added Kim Swee of his expectations of national players in his squad.
With six players from the national side who won the AFF Suzuki Cup last December in the U21 squad, Kim Swee said nobody is assured of his place yet for the Olympic clash against Pakistan.”Any player who does not perform will have to make way for others. No player is indispensable, you might come from the national team but performance in matches is very important.If they are not consistent and keep making mistakes, then I will have to give others a chance to play and we will see how they react,” said Kim Swee who was impressed by Pakistan’s gutsy performance against Thailand U21 at Rajamangala Stadium last week.
“Their preparations under seasoned coach Tariq Lutfi show that every team is serious about wanting to qualify for the London Olympics. We have to fully use Shah Alam stadia advantage because it can be difficult in Lahore leg. There are not a bad side and they restricted scoreline to only 1-2. Paki boys look to be well-organised and are serious about their campaign. They have two speedy flankers and their strikers are quite dangerous. It won’t be easy for us judging from what I saw of them.”
Kim Swee will have his hands full focusing on the Malaysian Super League and Olympic qualifiers. Harimau Muda ‘A’ viz National U21 team is currently third in the Tabe after Kelantan and Perak with six points in three games.
They began their Super League campaign with a defeat by Negri Sembilan 0-1 before bouncing back to beat Pahang and Terengganu PBDKT T-Team 3-1.
Kim Swee is expected to call up goalkeeper Khairul Fahmi Che Mat , Ahmad Shakir Ali and Ahmad Fakri Saraani to join their centralised training camp. Malaysia U21 have a strong set of midfielders in K. Gurusamy, Gary Steven and Wan Zack Haikal while backline is quite steady in the presence of skipper Muslim Ahmad, Mohd Fadhli Shas, Mohd Fandi Othman, Mahali Jasuli and Mohd Faizal Mohd.