Johor Darul Takzim’s Afiq Fazail was not on the field against Tajikistan but he will feature in coach Tan Cheng Hoe’s final squad for the forthcoming Group G matches against Thailand and Indonesia in the World cup 2022/Asia Cup 2023.

The 25-year-old midfielder has ëxcused” as he got married on the same day of Tier 1 international against former Russian state currently ranked 116. Malaysia won the match 1-0 with Safawi Rasid scoring the winner on 72 minutes.

“Afiq had fixed the wedding date much, much earlier before he was called up for national training. It is his big day and we have to honor that,” said Cheng Hoe.

“I have seen him play and I am impressed with his vision and reading of the game. He will be in my final squad. The match against Tajikistan was a good ‘test’ for the team and I am pleased with the win.

“The win over the higher-ranked team is ‘motivating’ and it has given the team confidence to face Thailand and Indonesia.”

However, Cheng Hoe, in the same breath, was quick to admit that there are several shortcomings that needed to be worked on. The national team will train at Wisma FAM on Monday.

Harimau Malaya faces the Thais this Thursday and Indonesia on Nov 19. Both matches will be played at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil – Home of Harimau Malaya.

Malaysia with one win and two defeats in the group need to win against Thailand and Indonesia to stay alive. In the first match, Malaysia beat Indonesia 3-2 in Jakarta, lost 1-2 to the United Arab Emirates at home and lost 0-1 to Vietnam away. RIZAL ABDULLAH

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