SEPANG, Nov 7 — Harimau Malaya head coach Nelo Vingada is confident that his charges would put up a good display against North Korea in the 2019 Asian Cup qualifying matches in Buriram, Thailand, despite the loss of two key players to injury.
“We only had a few days training but the players are motivated ahead of the crucial matches on November 10 and November 13,” he told reporters before the team departed for Thailand at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), here, today.
Kedah midfielder Baddrol Bakhtiar and Johor Darul Ta’zim striker Darren Lok are out after picking up injuries during the Malaysia Cup final match on Saturday.
They are replaced by Perak midfielder Ahmad Khairil Anuar Ahmad Zamri and Felda United winger Muhammad Hadin Azman.
Meanwhile, Ahmad Khairil Anuar is looking for a chance to be in the starting lineup for the two important matches despite being listed for the first time in the national team squad.
The Malaysian Under-22 squad (U-22) member who is a last-minute replacement for Darren Lok is determined to repay Vingada’s faith in him if fielded in both matches.
Meanwhile, midfielder Nor Azam Abdul Azih hopes to help Malaysia to get positive results over North Korea after being overlooked for the Hong Kong match due to family problems.
“I hope the team can give their best display in both matches which had been postponed several times” added the Pahang player.
North Korea will host the first match on November 10 while Malaysia will host the return on November 13. Both matches are scheduled to be held at i-mobile Stadium, Buriram, Thailand.
The postponement was due to tension between Malaysia and North Korea following the murder of Kim Jong-nam, the half-brother of North Korea leader Kim Jong-un, at KL International Airport 2 (KLIA2) on February 13. — Bernama