Malaysia head coach Nelo Vingada admitted that U-22 striker N. Thanabalan was not ready for the AFC Asian Cup qualifier against Hong Kong on 10 October.
“Thana (N Thanabalan) is a good player, but not for this match (against Hong Kong),” Vingada told Berita Harian on Saturday.
“As I know, not all players have the quality and talent like him. He played very well for the U-22 squad at the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games 2017, but I think it’s too early to include him in my squad.
“In fact, I still have strikers like Shahrel Fikri, Ahmad Hazwan Bakri and Darren Lok, who are able to take on the front of the match against Hong Kong.
“I know I will use him later because we will have to fight two more Group B teams – Lebanon and North Korea,” the Portuguese added.
Vingada and his men were supposed to travel to Pyongyang for the qualifier on 3 October, but the game was called off by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) after the Malaysian government issued a travel ban.