Muhamad Syahir Bashah (File photo)
24/03/2024 01:51 PM

PETALING JAYA, March 24 (Bernama) -- National Under-23 football squad midfielder Syahir Bashah said the absence of several key players has impacted the team's preparations for the U-23 Asian Cup in Doha, Qatar.

He said Mukhairi Ajmal, Azam Azmi Murad, Nooa Laine and Harith Haiqal Adam Afkar could not be with the team for now because they are representing the senior squad in the two matches against Oman in the World Cup 2026/Asian Cup 2027 second-round qualifiers.

“It has had a major impact because they are pillars of the U-23 squad. But to me, all players gave their best in the (friendly) match against India the other day.

“They deserved the opportunity to play (in the first 11),” he told reporters after a training session with the U-23 squad here yesterday.

The Selangor FC player said the other players should take advantage of the temporary absence of the key players to impress coach Juan Torres Garrido to be fielded in the first 11 in future.

Apart from another match against India, Harimau Muda will also play China and Qatar in Doha as part of their preparations for the U-23 Asian Cup.

Last Friday, Harimau Muda edged India 2-1 in their first friendly.

The U-23 Asian Cup will be held in Doha from April 15 to May 3.

Malaysia, who are in Group D, will play Uzbekistan on April 17, followed by Vietnam on April 20 and Kuwait on April 23.