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KUALA NERUS: National football squad coach Kim Pan Gon has been forced to drop Kuala Lumpur FC striker Haqimi Azim Rosli due to health issues.

He said there was no positive sign that the striker would be able to join centralised training with his teammates based on his observation of the 20-year-old’s current situation as of last night.

With the exception of Haqimi Azim, the rest of the 26 selected players were in good condition and arrived for training at the Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin Stadium today.

“We were waiting for him till last night but we couldn’t see his physical improvement. So, I think for medical reasons, he will be dropped from our squad,“ he said during a media conference at the stadium this evening.

Pan Gon has retained 17 of the 27 players he called up previously in Johor Bahru, while the 10 new players called up this time include five players of the 2022 Asian Football Federation (AFF) Cup, Safawi Rasid, Mukhairi Ajmal Mahadi, Haqimi Azim, Azam Azmi Murad and Lee Tuck; along with Natxo Insa, Junior Eldstal, Shahrel Fikri Md Fauzi, goalkeeper Azri Ab Ghani and newcomer Syahir Bashah.

The national squad will play two friendly matches against the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea in Kuala Terengganu before heading to the finals of the 2023 Asia Cup.

-BERNAMA