Vingada goes for Spain-born Insa
DEVINDER SINGH firstname.lastname@example.org
PAHANG’S Spain-born midfielder Kiko Insa is set to make his debut for Malaysia after being called up for a series of friendly matches this month.
Insa is one of two foreign-born players included in the 24-man squad named by national coach Nelo Vingada yesterday, the other being Darul Ta’zim striker Darren Lok.
But there was no call up for Insa’s brother Natxo, the Darul Ta’zim player who has not been cleared for international duty, as Vingada rang the changes ahead of a Sept 5 Asian Cup qualifier against Hong Kong.
Vingada changed half the Harimau Malaya squad that were called up for their last match on June 13, a 2-1 defeat to Lebanon in an Asian Cup qualifier at Larkin in the Portuguese’s first game in charge.
Malaysia meet Hong Kong in the next Asian Cup qualifier in Melaka but will play friendlies against Syria (Aug 22), Macau (Aug 25) and Myanmar (Aug 29) as part of the team’s preparation.
Perak SEDC midfielder Shahrel Fikri Fauzi has been rewarded for his sterling display in his club’s promotion fight while Kedah goalkeeper Farhan Abu Bakar has also fought his way back from a slump with both looking to win their first cap.
Other players recalled include Fitri Omar (Kedah), Aidil Zafuan Radzak, Azrif Nasrulhaq Badrul Hisyam and Fadhli Shas (Darul Ta’zim), Nasir Basharudin and Nazrin Nawi (Perak) and Wan Zack Haikal Wan Nor (Felda United).
Vingada excluded Pahang’s Matthew Davies and Nor Azam Azih as they are part of the national Under-22 team for the Kuala Lumpur Sea Games.
Among those missing out this time are Selangor attacker Amri Yahyah and PKNS striker Safee Sali, who is recovering from a shoulder injury.
After playing Syria at the Hang Jebat Stadium, the national team will travel to Macau and Yangon before returning to Melaka to face Hong Kong. Farhan Abu Bakar (Ked), Hafizul Hakim Khairul Nizam Jothy (Pk), Khairulazhan Khalid (Sel);
Rizal Ghazali, Khairul Helmi Johari, Fitri Omar (Ked), Aidil Zafuan Radzak, Azrif Nasrulhaq Badrul Hisyam, Fadhli Shas (JDT), Shahrom Kalam, Nazirul Naim Che Hashim (Pk);
Baddrol Bakhtiar, Syazwan Zainon, Akram Mahinan (Ked), Safiq Rahim, Amirulhadi Zainal (JDT), Nasir Basharuddin, Nazrin Nawi (Pk), Kiko Insa, Ahmad Syamim Yahya (Pah), Wan Zack Haikal Wan Nor (Felda);
Ahmad Hazwan Bakri, Darren Lok (JDT), Shahrel Fikri Fauzi (Perak SEDC).
Pahang midfielder Kiko Insa is set to make his debut for Malaysia.