Players up to task despite absence of two key players: Vingada

PETALING JAYA: Despite missing the services of two key players, National senior squad head coach Nelo Vingada is confident that his squad will be up to the task when Malaysia face Hong Kong in their third 2019 Asian Cup Qualifiers Group B match at the Hong Kong Stadium on Oct 10.

"I will not call up anymore players because the match against Hong Kong is very close as we had a few players who can fill their shoes such as Mohd Syazwan Zainon, Wan Zack Haikal Wan Nor, Mohd Safawi Rasid, Darren Lok and also skipper Safiq Rahim," Vingada told reporters when met after the squad's training session at the Football Association of Malaysia field in Wisma FAM, here, today.

The 64-year-old Portuguese coach also reminded his charges to put aside their emotional feelings against any decision made by the referee in the upcoming match against Hong Kong.

He said the suspension of two defenders, Aidil Zafuan Abdul Razak and Mohd Rizal Ghazali, after receiving red cards in the dying minutes of the match against Hong Kong at the Hang Jebat Stadium, early this month, should serve as a lesson for others to not repeat such mistakes.

"I have reminded the players to respect the referee's decision but in the end, we could not predict what happens during a match," Vingada said.

Meanwhile, Safiq said the inclusion of six players from the SEA Games squad that won the silver medal would certainly give coach Vingada more options in all departments when planning his strategy to face Hong Kong.

The six players included in the senior squad are goalkeeper Ifwat Akmal Chek Kassim (Kedah), Matthew Davies, Nor Azam Abdul Azih (Pahang), Adam Nor Azlin (Selangor), Syamer Kutty Abba (Penang) and MuhammadNazmi Faiz Mansor (JDT).

"I hope we can put up a good performance against Hong Kong because we have not enjoyed a positive result for some time now," he said.

In 2019 Asian Qualifiers, Malaysia are currently languishing at the bottom of Group B with one point after two matches.

Initially, Malaysia was slated to take on North Korea in their third qualifying match in Pyongyang, today, but the match was postponed to a later date by the Asian Football Confederation after the Foreign Ministry issued a travel ban for Malaysians to North Korea in view of the "escalation of tension" in the Korean peninsula. — Bernama