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OFFICIAL: Mat Yo and Fahmi dropped by Kim Swee logo 09-03-2017

BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter

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The Malaysian FA (FAM) has announced the 23-player call-up list for the Malaysian Tigers' international matches against the Philippines and North Korea. Forward Norshahrul Idlan Talaha and goalkeeper Khairul Fahmi Che Mat are among the notable names to have been dropped by head coach Datuk Ong Kim Swee.

In the list released on Thursday, Perak will contribute the lion's share of the squad members with six players, while Kedah are the second biggest contributors with five men.

Five names have been dropped from the previous call-up, Malaysia's disappointing 2016 AFF Cup campaign. They are Khairul Fahmi Che Mat (Kelantan), Irfan Fazail (JDT II), Ahmad Fakri Saarani (Kedah), Darren Lok (JDT) and Norshahrul Idlan Talaha (Felda United).

Fahmi, who until now has been Kim Swee's preferred goalkeeper, has seen his form for Kelantan dip this season, and he has also been sidelined in his club's past two matches.

Whereas for Norshahrul, although he began this season by scoring two goals in the Fighters' first two matches, has not found the back of the net again since. He had earlier received Kim Swee's call-up for the AFF Cup after a year's absence from the national team.

Their places will be replaced by Farizal Harun (Felda United), Afif Amiruddin (Pahang), Khair Jones (Melaka), Nasir Basharudin (Perak) and Akram Mahinan (Kedah).

Khair Jones (left) playing for Malaysia in 2016. Photo by FAM

The full 23-man call-up list

The March 23 match against the Philippines, Malaysia's first international match this year and since the AFF Cup, will be their preparation for their March 28 Asian Cup qualification group match against North Korea. The Tigers will play the Azkals in the Philippines.

The qualification match meanwhile had initially been scheduled to be played in Pyongyang, but the recent diplomatic incidents between the two countries have caused the AFC to mull moving the match to a neutral venue, with the Malaysian government having earlier barred the national team from travelling to North Korea for the match.

According to FAM, the decision is expected to be announced by the AFC on Friday.

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