Malaysia hit by injury crisis as Kim Swee’s task gets tougher

Ong Kim Swee’s attempts to turn Malaysia’s fortunes around have been dealt a blow, with a plethora of players unavailable for his side’s international friendly against Indonesia on September 6 due to injury.

Six players – Izham Tarmizi Roslan, Junior Eldstal, Fazly Mazlan, Mahalli Jasuli; Shahrom Kalam and Christie Jayaseelan – had initially been ruled out of the match, which will serve as a warm-up for Malaysia’s Suzuki Cup campaign in November, and the injury crisis has now deepened with midfielder Brendan Gan and striker Ahmad Hazwan Bakri having succumbed to back and ankle injuries respectively.

Kim Swee will also be without the experienced quartet of Safiq Rahim, Aidil Zafuan, S. Kunanlan and Amirulhadi Zainal who all announced their international retirement in July.

“Definitely, it’s not easy,” Kim Swee told ESPN FC. “But at the same time we have to respect their decisions. After their retirements, I had my coaches around the stadiums to look for replacements.

“I have 45 players on my list, and now we’ve finalised those 24 players. I hope those players who have been called up will grab this opportunity to prove themselves before the Suzuki Cup.”

Kim Swee conceded he is also concerned about the fitness level of his squad.

“Everyone has reported for duty, expect for leftback Nazirul Naim (Che Hashim). We are still waiting for him to get in touch with us,” he said. “All those who have reported for duty have played through a gruelling round of fixtures in the M-League, so their condition is worrying. We will focus on their recovery for the next two or maybe three days.”