Four JDT players out of Malaysia squad for Asian Cup qualifier vs. Lebanon

Four Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) players have pulled out of Malaysia's opening AFC Asian Cup qualifier against Lebanon on June 13.

Defenders Aidil Zafuan Razak, S. Kunanlan and Muhammad Fazly Mazlan and midfielder Mohd Azrif Nasrulhaq Badrul Hisham won't play in the match on JDT's home ground of Larkin Stadium due to injuries.

Aidil and Kunanlan were making their international comebacks after prematurely retiring last year, along with former skipper Safiq Rahim and Amirulhadi Zainal. Safiq and Amirulhadi are still expected to play in the match.

In the places of the missing quartet, Malaysia head coach Nelo Vingada has called up Nazrin Syamsul Bahri (PKNS FC), Faisal Rosli (Pahang), Afif Amiruddin (Pahang) and Nazirul Naim (Perak).

"Calling up these four players will not affect the team's preparations. In fact, it's going well," Vingada told The Star. "Hopefully, there will be no any new injuries as we want to maintain this squad until the match."

Malaysia are in Group B, with North Korea and Hong Kong the other teams. Their opening qualifier against the North Koreans, scheduled for March 28 in Pyongyang, has been postponed until Oct. 5 due to security concerns after strained diplomatic relations between the nations.

Vingada, who began the national camp at Pasir Gudang Municipal Council Stadium on May 30, is pleased with the preparations.

"We still have a couple of days before the match. I'm confident that everything will go according to plan," the former Saudi Arabia head coach said.

"The players must focus on keeping their rhythm in attack and defence. It will not be an easy thing to do but it's my job to make sure that it's done correctly."

Lebanon began their campaign by scoring a 2-0 win over Hong Kong in Beirut on March 28.