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PUTRAJAYA, April 19 — Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) president Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin today became the first person from the national football body to be vaccinated under the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme.
National team chief coach Tan Cheng Hoe and captain Mohd Aidil Zafuan Abdul Radzak were also among the early recipients of the vaccine jabs at Dewan Seri Seroja here.
They were among 78 people comprising national football players and officials involved in the immunisation programme organised by the Youth and Sports Ministry (KBS).
The others seen turning up for the vaccination included Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) players Mohd Farizal Marlias and Muhammad Syafiq Ahmad, Perak FC’s Mohd Shahrul Mohd Saad and naturalised national player Guilherme De Paula.
FAM secretary-general Stuart Ramalingam, team manager Datuk Mohd Yusoff Mahadi and FAM technical director Datuk Ong Kim Swee were also spotted at the programme.
The vaccine shots must have come as a relief to national football players and officials ahead of their 2022 World Cup/2023 Asian Cup qualifying campaign in the United Arab Emirates in June.
Hamidin said he was satisfied with the vaccination programme and thanked Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba and National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme Coordinating Minister Khairy Jamaluddin for making it possible for the Harimau Malaya camp to be vaccinated early.
“I could see that the SOP was tight... no pain at all when I was injected. The players and officials felt the same,” he told reporters.
Hamidin said more than 40 players and officials received their first shot today while the rest were expected to get theirs at the same location on Thursday.
“They could not attend for certain reasons... the second dose is expected to be given on May 10,” he added.
He said players currently playing overseas including young striker Luqman Hakim Shamsudin of Belgium club KV Kortrijk, Thai Chonburi FC’s Junior Edstal and naturalised national player Liridon Krasniqi of Australia’s Newcastle Jets would not be vaccinated here and would go straight to UAE if selected.
Malaysia will play UAE on June 3, Vietnam on June 11 and Thailand on June 15 to determine the Group G champions, who get an automatic slot to the 2023 Asian Cup final round and 2022 World Cup third qualifying round.
Before that, the national team are expected to play two friendlies, against Kuwait (May 23) and Bahrain (May 28). — Bernama