Harimau Malaya faces qualification competitions next year

Photo used for illustration purposes only

MELAKA – The Harimau Malaya team under its chief coach, Tan Cheng Hoe will probably play under the carnival mode, namely, all the teams involved will gather in one selected venue for all matches, for the 2022 Qatar FIFA World Cup and 2023 China AFC Asia Cup qualification matches.

Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) president Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin said the event was expected to take place in March and May next year in permitted countries such as Qatar or any of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) countries if the COVID-19 pandemic continued.

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“Although there is no competitive action at the international level this year, the postponement enables the national squad to make preparations to face the qualification round.

“Maybe, they have not trained together for a long time, but if we notice, the players are currently playing with their respective clubs in the Malaysian League and will be more prepared for the championship later,” he said.

He said this to reporters after attending an investiture ceremony in conjunction with the 71st birthday of the Yang DiPertua Negeri of Melaka, Tun Mohd Ali Rustam in Seri Negara, here, today.

Earlier, Hamidin was conferred the Darjah Cemerlang Seri Melaka (DCSM) which carries the title of Datuk Wira.

The Harimau Malaya squad was supposed to undergo the second round reciprocal match of Group G by meeting UAE in Dubai on Oct 8, Vietnam at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium on Oct 13 and against Thailand in Bangkok (Nov 17).

However, the International Football Federation (FIFA) and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) postponed the rest of the campaign action to next year.

In another development, Hamidin said the organisation of the Malaysia Cup competition this season would continue despite the country facing an increase in COVID-19 cases currently, but FAM would comply with the stipulated standard operation procedure (SOP).

Following the amendment to the schedule saw the Malaysia Cup draw, prior to this scheduled on Oct 12, to be pushed forward to Oct 19 before the oldest championship in South East Asia commences on Oct 25 and 26 compared to the original schedule of Oct 16 to 18.

In the meantime, he said the issue of payment of salary arrears for the players was expected to be fully resolved in three to four years after the privatisation of football clubs starting next season.

— BERNAMA