KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 12 — The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) have no power to ask any state or club to release their players for national duty with either the senior or junior squads.
FAM deputy president Datuk Wira Mohd Yusoff Mahadi, however, reiterated that the states and clubs should give proper consideration if their players were called up for national assignments.
He said this after attending the sponsorship extension signing ceremony between Shopee and the Malaysian Football League (MFL) for a second straight year here today. He is also a member of the MFL board of directors.
Mohd Yusoff also clarified that a misunderstanding between Terengganu FC II trainer Tengku Hazman Raja Hassan and national Under-23 head coach Datuk Ong Kim Swee resulted in the state team refusing to release Muhammad Izzan Syahmi Mustapa to join the national team’s centralised training, which began on Sunday at the National Sports Council (NSC) field.
However, he said, FAM managed to resolve the matter and Muhammad Izzan had joined the training.
Meanwhile, MFL chief executive officer Kevin Ramalingam said they were considering several proposals to encourage teams to release their players called up for national duty.
“We haven’t discussed the proposals with the MFL board of directors yet, but one suggestion is that if teams are willing to release their players, then they may be permitted to register 35 players instead of 30 for the Malaysia League,” he said.
Felda United, Selangor, Pahang and Kedah refused to release their players called up for the national Under-22 centralised training camp in preparation for the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Championship to be held at the National Olympic Stadium in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, from Feb 17-26.
Malaysia are set to begin their Group B campaign against hosts Cambodia on Feb 18, followed by matches against Indonesia (Feb 20) and Myanmar (Feb 22).
Defending champions Thailand are in Group A with Vietnam, Timor Leste and the Philippines while Singapore, Brunei and Laos have pulled out of the tournament, which was last held in 2005, without giving any reasons.
The top two teams from the two groups will qualify for the semi-finals on Feb 24. The final will be on Feb 26. — Bernama