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Malaysia cut eight players, finalise 20-man squad for SEA Games

Malaysia cut eight players, finalise 20-man squad for SEA Games
From ESPN - August 12, 2017

Datuk Ong Kim Swee admits it was his "toughest" ever Southeast (SEA) Asian Games selection after dropping eight players from his national under-22 squad ahead of the football tournament which starts on Monday.

Amierul Hakimi Awang (Terengganu), Raphi Azizan (PJ Rangers), Danial Ashraf (Kelantan), Sean Eugene Selvaraj (Negeri Sembilan), Dominic Tan (Johor Darul Ta'zim), Tommy Mawat (Sarawak), Ahmad Azriddin Rosli (Felda United) and Ahmad Khairil Anuar (Perak) were the octet cut from the training camp.

With the exclusions, the coach finalised his 20-man squad for the competition, which begins with the opening Group A match against Brunei at Shah Alam Stadium.

"I had to make the best decision based on the alternatives we had in every position," Ong told ESPN FC.

"Amierul will, however, remain with the team in case of any injuries to our goalkeepers. We are following the SEA Games rule, which dictates only goalkeepers can be changed during the tournament."

There were initial fitness concerns to forwards N. Thanabalan and S. Kumaahran, but Ong confirmed both players are showing steady signs of progress.

Malaysia will have one more training session before the opening match against Bruneians.

Ong was also worried that some of his players were suffering from fatigue after playing 11 matches in 36 days, due to the gruelling domestic campaign.

"I have let them off with light sessions in the first three or four days. I also plan to rotate the players in every game, so lethargy and fatigue should not be a problem," he said.

The Malaysians, who did well last month to qualify for January's AFC U23 Championship in China, are expected to deliver three points against ASEAN minnows Brunei in front of their home crowd.

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