Kim Pan-gon has named his first Malaysia squad for the national team's upcoming international matches.
The Harimau Malaya are scheduled to travel to Singapore and play the Philippines (March 23), the host nation (March 26) and Albirex Niigata FC Singapore (March 28) during the international break.
The South Korean, who replaced Tan Cheng Hoe as the national head coach in January, opted to call up 14 players from Malaysian Super League champions Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT), making up nearly half of his 30-man squad.
The squad was dominated next by Selangor, Terengganu and Petaling Jaya City with three players each.
Three foreign-based players also made the cut, namely SV Zulte Waregem defender Dion Cools, Odisha FC midfielder Liridon Krasniqi and KV Kortrijk youngster Luqman Hakim Shamsudin
"Having taken the opportunity to attend a number of league matches over the course of the week, I am happy to say that we have identified a pool of players to form what is potentially the core of the Malaysian national team.
"For the past one week, the panel of coaches have sat down together and provide ratings for the players based on their performance. We spoke to coaches from various teams.
"We also evaluated additional information based on past statistics and minutes of play in international matches from 2019 to 2021.
"Based on the league matches, we identified a pool of almost 70 players before narrowing it down to the players we believe who are suited to our playing philosophy and tactical plans.
"But based on our observation and monitoring, either directly or indirectly, we need to assess the players’ ability in terms of technical, tactical and professional behaviour," Kim said.
He also highlighted his short-term objective was to prepare for the Asian Cup 2023 qualifiers in June but the long-term vision was to develop the team's playing style and rebuild the team's confidence.
The national team would gather on March 14 for a centralised training camp before departing for Singapore on March 22.