KUALA LUMPUR: NATIONAL coach Nelo Vingada finally has his ‘Dream Team’ for the Asian Cup qualifying Group B matches against North Korea on Nov 10 and 13 in Buriram, Thailand.
Several Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) players who either returned from retirements or were overlooked for international assignments were included in Vingada’s 24-member squad.
With their returns, JDT will have 12 players representing the national team for the upcoming assignment.
Darul Ta’zim’s Izham Tarmizi Roslan, Fadhli Shas, Fazly Mazlan, Junior Eldstal, S. Kunalan, and Azrif Nasrulhaq Badrul Hisham will all make returns to the national team after a long absence.
Goalkeeper Izham, Fazly, Junior and Kunalan last donned national colours in the Tour of Oceania in June last year. Centre-back Fadhli, who has 57 caps, and Azrif last represented Malaysia in friendly matches a year ago.
Midfielders Syafiq Ahmad of Kedah and Nor Azam Bin Abdul Azih of Pahang along with JDT’s Afiq Fazail are the uncapped players in the team.
Players not involved in the Malaysia Cup final will report on Saturday, while those from JDT and Kedah will do so on Monday.
"I believe we have a 50 per cent chance of good results, but it will be tight as there is only a three-day break in-between both matches.
"I do not want to say whether playing in Thailand will be an advantage to Malaysia but it certainly cuts travel time (for the first round match),” said Vingada in a recent interview.
Malaysia currently sit bottom of Group B with only one point from three matches, but positive results against North Korea will put them back into contention for a spot in the 2019 Asian Cup Finals in the United Arab Emirates.
Lebanon lead the group with 10 points, five more than second-place Hong Kong while North Korea are third on two points.
The national team have not won in their last eight international matches, including five under new national coach Nelo Vingada, since the 3-2 win over Cambodia in November last year at the AFF Cup.
The current winless run is Malaysia's longest since 2013-14, marking the end of K. Rajagobal's four-year stint as head coach when the national team also went eight games without a win.
Goalkeepers: Izham Tarmizi Roslan, Hafizul Hakim Khairul Nizam Jothy, Khairul Azhan Khalid.
Defenders: Fadhli Shas, Fazly Mazlan, Junior Eldstal, S. Kunanlan, Azrif Nasrulhaq, Shahrom Kalam, Nazirul Naim Che Hashim, Amirul Azhan Aznan, Adam Nor Azlin
Midfielders: Safiq Rahim, Nazmi Faiz Mansor, Safawi Rasid, Afiq Fazail, Baddrl Bakhtiar, Kiko Insa, Nor Azam Azih, Wan Zack Haikal Wan Nor, Syamer Kutty Abba
Strikers: Ahmad Hazwan Bakri, Darren Lok, Syafiq Ahmad