Five key national players will be missing from Malaysia's first international match of the year against the Philippines at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila tomorrow.
The absence of defenders Aidil Zafuan Radzak, Mahalli Jasuli and Faizal Muhammad, midfielder K. Gurusamy and striker Norshahrul Idlan Talaha through injury however provides coach K. Rajagobal with the opportunity to test several uncapped players ahead of the AFF Suzuki Cup in November-December.
Selangor goalkeeper Norazlan Razali, midfielder Shahrudin Yakup of Sabah and Young Tigers A winger Wan Zack Haikal Wan Nor are all set to earn their first international cap while Kelantan centre-back S. Subramaniam will make his first appearance in three years.
The national team have been restricted to playing local Super League sides this year, beating Kelantan 5-0 last month and most recently on Friday when Amar Rohidan scored in the 80th minute for a 1-0 win over Sabah in Kota Kinabalu.
"This is our first international match of the year and I'd like to try out some new players as we prepare to defend the AFF Cup," said Rajagobal before the squad left for Manila yesterday.
Pelita Jaya striker Safee Sali, who was restricted to 10 minutes against Sabah due to a calf strain, was deemed fit to travel with the squad though he is expected to be used sparingly.
SQUAD - Goalkeepers: Farizal Marlias, Norazlan Razali, Khairul Fahmi Che Mat.
Defenders: Bunyamin Umar, Asraruddin Putra Omar, G. Mahathevan, Zubir Azmi, Muslim Ahmad, S. Subramaniam, Fadhli Shas.
Midfielders: Amar Rohidan, Baddrol Bakhtiar, Safiq Rahim, S. Kunalan, Ashaari Samsudin, Shakir Shaari, Shahrudin Yakup, Wan Zack Haikal Wan Nor.
Forwards: Ahmad Shakir Ali, Manaf Mamat, Zaquan Adha Radzak, Safee Sali.