SEPANG, Feb 15 (Bernama) -- National Under-22 football squad chief coach Datuk Ong Kim Swee is looking at a minimum the semifinals in the ASEAN Under-22 championship in Phnom Penh, which kicks off on Feb18.
He was confident that the squad were up to the task despite only being able to train together for five days.
"We have to be realistic because of the absence of several key players. Nevertheless, the meet will provide exposure for the players before they compete in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) qualifying round in March,” he told reporters before the squad left for the Cambodian capital from the KL International Airport here today.
It was reported that preparations were affected because a number of teams refused to release their players for national duty.
Malaysia are drawn in Group B and will open their campaign against the hosts on Feb 18 followed by Indonesia (Feb 20 ) and Myanmar (Feb 24).
Group A has defending champions Thailand Vietnam, Timor-Leste and the Philippines. Singapore, Brunei and Laos are not taking part.
The final is on Feb 26 and the venue for all matches is the National Olympic Stadium, Phnom Penh.
Muhammad Azri Ab Ghani, Ahmad Tasnim Fitri Mohd Nasir (Felda United); Nik Akif Syahiran Nik Mat, Muhammad Danial Haqim Draman, Muhamad Shahrul Nizam Ros Hasni, Nik Azli Nik Alias (Kelantan); R. Kogileswaran, R. Dinesh (Pahang); Damien Lim Chien Khai, Muhammad Jafri Muhammad Firdaus Chew, Ariff Ar-Rasyid Ariffin (PKNS FC)
Evan Wensley Wenceslaus, Ariusdius Jais (Sabah); Muhammad Haziq Nadzli, Dominic Tan Jun Jin (JDT); Mohamad Hariz Kamarudin (JDT II); Muhammad Amirul Ashraf Ariffin (UiTM FC); Muhammad Nazirul Afif Ibrahim (Perak); Nabil Hakim Bokhari (Kuala Lumpur); Muhammad Izzan Syahmi Mustapa (Terengganu FC); Muhammad Hadi Fayyadh Abdul Razak (Fagiano Okayama), K. Thivandaran (Petaling Jaya City FC); Danish Haziq Saipul Hisham (Negeri Sembilan).