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KUALA LUMPUR, April 14 -- The national football squad under the guidance of head coach Tan Cheong Hoe can breath a sigh of relief after receiving news that the team will receive their COVID-19 vaccination shots next Monday.
Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican said 78 individuals, players and officials, including Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) president Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin are expected to receive their first shots at Seri Seroja hall in Putrajaya.
“Thanks to our continuous efforts, we received word that 78 of our players, coaches and officials, including the FAM president, will be vaccinated at an earlier date.
“This means they will complete (their second dose) before they leave for Dubai,” he said at a media conference of the 100 Days to Tokyo ceremony launch at the National Sports Council (NSC) here today.
No guarantees were made previously that the national squad would be vaccinated before leaving for United Arab Emirates (UAE), creating concern among players and the coaching staff over their health.
The national squad, which is scheduled to assemble on May 16, will leave for the Middle East for an intensive training camp and to play some friendly matches there before continuing their 2022 World Cup/2023 Asian Cup Group G second round qualifiers.
Malaysia will face hosts UAE on June 3 before going up against Vietnam on June 11 and Thailand on June 15.
Meanwhile, Reezal Merican said the ministry had not received any negative feedback from the first group of 264 athletes who received the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine under the National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme which began yesterday.