KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 26 (Bernama) -- The Harimau Malaya squad will likely play a warm-up match against a club in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) before they take on UAE in their World Cup 2022/Asian Cup 2023 qualifier on March 26.
Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) president Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin said they were arranging this friendly because the Bahrain Football Association (BFA) two days ago cancelled the Tier 1 friendly between Malaysia and Bahrain following the COVID-19 outbreak.
The friendly had been scheduled to take place at the Khalifa Sports City Stadium, Isa Town, on March 21 but the Bahrain government had tightened travel into and out of the country, which also affects individuals from countries near to or in COVID-19-hit areas, including Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, South Korea and Iran.
“It is highly possible we will leave early for UAE and play a friendly with a reputable club there,” he said at a media briefing here today.
After the Dubai match, the squad under Tan Cheng Hoe will play Vietnam at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil here five days later before winding up their Group G campaign with a match against Thailand in Bangkok on June 9.
COVID-SPORTS (HAMIDIN) 2 (LAST) KUALA LUMPUR
As a preventive measure against the spread of COVID-19, Hamidin said they would be conducting body temperature screening on fans for the Vietnam match.
“We will take precautions, like conducting body temperature checks at the gates and providing hand sanitiser to fans although COVID-19 infections have dropped.
“We will also ask all teams to conduct the same procedures for the Malaysian League, which kicks off on Friday. If there is additional advice from the Health Ministry, we will follow,” said Hamidin, who is also president of the Malaysian Football League (MFL).
Malaysia, ranked 154th in the world, are now second in the group with nine points after five matches, and have a good chance of qualifying for the Asian Cup 2023 finals in China if they achieve positive results in their remaining three matches.
The last time Malaysia qualified for the Asian Cup final round was in 2007, when they co-hosted the tournament with three other ASEAN countries -- Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam.
TAG: Football, Harimau Malaya, FAM, Hamidin Mohd Amin, UAE, Vietnam