Both have played an inspiring and instrumental role in taking their respective teams to this year’s Malaysia Cup final which will be played at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil this Saturday.

Kedah skipper Baddrol Bakhtiar and Johor Darul Takzim’s Afiq Fazail have earned a national call up with head coach Tan Cheng Hoe counting on the duo to deliver for Harimau Malaya when Malaysia’s plays two crucial matches at home – against Thailand (Nov 14) and Indonesia (Nov 19) in Group G in the World Cup 2022/Asia Cup 2023 qualifiers.

Cheng Hoe also recalled Nor Azam Azih (Pahang) and Shahrel Fukri (Perak) but dropped four others – Perak goalkeeper Hafizul Hakim Khairul Nizam Jothy, Akram Mahinan (PKNS FC), Selangor’s Halim Saari and Kuala Lumpur’s Irfan Zakaria.

Akram and Irfan, together with JDT goalkeeper Haziq Nadzli, Rizal Ghazali (Kedah), J. Parthiban (Perak) and Jafri Firdaus Chew (PKNS) have been put on the standby list.

Before facing Thailand and Indonesia, Malaysia will take on Tajikistan in Tier 1 international friendly at the National Stadium which will also be the venue for the World Cup/Asia Cup qualifiers.

The players will report for training on Nov 3 while those from Kedah and JDT involved in the Malaysia Cup final will check in a day later – that is Monday, Nov 3.

“We two crucial matches in the World Cup and Asia Cup qualifiers. Those selected for the national squad’s training are picked on merit and could fit into our plans against Thailand and Indonesia,” said Cheng Hoe.

“Baddrol and Afiq are playing consistently well for their teams. They have the vision and I am impressed with their current performance.”

Malaysia started its World Cup and Asia Cup campaign on a winning note with come-from-behind 3-2 win over Indonesia in Jakarta. However, the Harimau Malaya lost 1-2 to group favorites the United Arab Emirates at home followed by a 1-0 defeat to Vietnam in Hanoi. RIZAL ABDULLAH

The squad

Farizal Marlias, Adam Nur Azlin, Aidil Zafuan Abdul Radzak, Corbin Ong, Syamer Kuty Abba, Safawi Rasid, Akhyar Rashid, Syafiq Ahmad, Afiq Fazail, Syazwan Andik (all JDT)

Matthew Davies, Mohamadou Sumareh, Nor Azam Azih, Norshahrul Idlan Talaha (all Pahang)

Shahrul Saad, Nazirul Naim Che Hashim, Brendan Gan, Shahrel Fikri (all Perak)

Ifwat Akmal Che Kassim, Baddrol Bakhthiar, Farhan Roslan (all Kedah)

Khairul Azhan Khalid, Syahmi Safari (both Selangor), Daniel Amier Norhisham (Felda United), Azizan Nordin (Sabah).

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