Two 17-year-olds - midfielder Mohd Fandi Othman and striker Gary Steven - have been included in the Harimau Muda ‘A’ squad which will be spending the year in the Slovakian First Division.
Apart from the two, the other Harimau Muda ‘B’ players who have gained promotion into the upper squad are defender Mohamad Fadhli Mohd Shah and strikers A. Thamil Arasu and Wan Zack Haikal Wan Noor, who will make the flight to Slovakia on 19 February.
Head coach Azraai Khor Abdullah defended his move to include the two youngsters following his previous experience with former treble Malaysian champions Kedah.
"Previously, I had fielded Khyrill (Muhymeen Zambri) when he just turned 18-years-old with the Kedah team. If the player is talented, age should not be a barrier,” said Azraai.
With the promotion of the five 19-year-olds into the Harimau Muda ’A’ team, there were also some demotions for several of the current Under-21 players and they are Mohd Nazri Baharudin, Muhamad Zulhariz Mohamad Nor, Ahmad Aminuddin Shaharuddin, Yusaini Hafiz Chee Saad and Mohd Shahrul Hafiz.
The five will be absorbed into the Harimau Muda ’B team under the guidance of head coach Ong Kim Swee.
Harimau Muda ‘B‘ have three players from the SEA Games squad - Mohamad Muslim Ahmad, K Gurusamy and Mahalli Jasuli - who won the gold in Laos last December. -AFF.