Thursday, 13 Aug 2020
SPORTS
31/07/2020 03:00 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, July 31 -- Harimau Malaya will zero in on the three remaining matches of the 2022 World Cup/2023 Asian Cup Group G qualifying round in October and November.

Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) secretary-general, Stuart Ramalingam said the cancellation of the ASEAN Football Federation  (AFF) Suzuki Cup championship this year following the COVID-19 pandemic, had eased the task of national squad handler, Tan Cheng Hoe to draft out the best preparation for the qualifying round.

He said Cheng Hoe would be calling the players for centralised training scheduled in mid-September before meeting Bahrain in a warm-up match in the Gulf nation in early October.

“After the Bahrain encounter, the national team would be flying to United Arab Emirates (UAE) to face the host side in a second qualifying round game on Oct 8.

“We will return home for a friendly against Kuwait at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil in November but I was told the Asian Football Confederation is still monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic situation before deciding  further on the friendly match,” he told Bernama today.

In this regard, Stuart said FAM would be holding further discussions with the Malaysian Football League (MFL) as the cancellation of the AFF Suzuki Cup had eased the local football calendar for the next season.

Based on the original plan, AFF had proposed to hold the AFF Suzuki Cup from Nov 23 to Dec 31 while maintaining the home and away format introduced in 2018.

However, the AFF Suzuki Cup Task Force Committee which held an online meeting on Friday decided to put the tournament to 2021 following a rise in COVID-19 cases at ASEAN and global levels.

After facing UAE in Dubai, Malaysia are scheduled to host Vietnam at the National Stadium on Oct 13 before completing the qualifying round against Thailand in Bangkok on Nov 17.

Malaysia are in the second spot in Group G of the qualifier with nine points after playing five matches.

However, UAE who are in the fourth place with six points have one extra match while Group G leaders, Vietnam have 11 points , followed by Thailand in the third place (eight points) and Indonesia are last without any points.

-- BERNAMA

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