The national U-22 football squad are currently preparing for the AFC U-23 Championship qualifiers in Bangkok this week, under national head coach Datuk Ong Kim Swee.
Malaysia have been huddled in Group H with the likes of Indonesia, Thailand, and Mongolia for the group stages.
However, Datuk Ong Kim Swee was faced with a predicament after six players failed to report for national duty.
The six players he is referring to are Matthew Davies and Nor Azam Azih from Pahang, S. Kumaahran and Syamer Kutty Abba from Penang, and Haziq Nadzli and Safawi Rasid from Johor Darul Ta’zim.
Datuk Ong Kim Swee was then forced to make some new call-ups to replace the missing stars, but he was still hopeful that the six would eventually show up.
However, speaking to reporters after the training yesterday, the national head coach confessed that he has decided to fly off to Bangkok without the six players — since he has not heard from them.
“I do not have much choice at the moment. I have to work with what I have. I have one more player coming in, Nur Shamie Iszuan from Sarawak.” Datuk Ong Kim Swee told HMetro.
“When Nur Shamie joins us, I will have 22 players. I will take the team of 22 players with me to Bangkok, assuming that the rest are not planning to show up.”
“I still haven’t heard from them, so it looks like we have to soldier on without the six players. I would really like to have them onboard, because they are good, but right now I have to focus on the players I already have.” the coach added.
Malaysia will be going up against Indonesia in the Group H fixture on Thursday, July 19th. Another Group H fixture will see hosts Thailand facing Mongolia on the same day at the National Stadium in Bangkok.