AFF Cup: FAM submits official request to replace Harimau Malaya goalkeeper

FAM secretary-general Mohd Saifuddin Abu Bakar said the application was sent yesterday immediately after two players, including a goalkeeper, were confirmed Covid-19 positive there. — Reuters pic
FAM secretary-general Mohd Saifuddin Abu Bakar said the application was sent yesterday immediately after two players, including a goalkeeper, were confirmed Covid-19 positive there. — Reuters pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 6 — The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) has submitted an official request to the Asean Football Federation (AFF) to change the national squad’s goalkeeper in the 2020 AFF Cup competition in Singapore.

FAM secretary-general Mohd Saifuddin Abu Bakar said the application was sent yesterday immediately after two players, including a goalkeeper, were confirmed Covid-19 positive there.

Although the other Covid-19 positive player plays as a winger, Mohd Saifuddin said that based on the competition rules, no additions were allowed after player registration has closed, with the exception of a change involving the goalkeeping position.

“We are not adding players but we seek to change keepers. Now we have only two keepers who can play, so we want three. For the goalkeeper position, we can request approval to replace existing players as it is in accordance with the competition rules.

“Other players can’t (change), it’s stated in the competition rules under Fifa (the world footballing governing body) or the AFC (Asian Football Confederation). For instance, if the goalkeeper is injured we need to confirm it with a doctor’s letter and only then will the change be approved,” he told Bernama today.

The FAM confirmed yesterday that goalkeeper Muhammad Khairulazhan Mohd Khalid and winger Muhammad Faisal Abdul Halim were confirmed Covid-19 positive after they took a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) screening at the Changi Airport last Friday.

Both players exhibited no symptoms but were ordered to undergo a 10-day quarantine in accordance with Singapore Health Ministry protocols, along with Covid-19 tests administered daily.

“FAM is monitoring the developments and their health levels closely,” Mohd Saifuddin added.

He said if there was positive feedback from organisers, FAM would leave it to national head coach Tan Cheng Hoe to determine a suitable replacement.

Mohd Saifuddin also said that only goalkeepers on the initial player registration list can be called up to replace Muhammad Khairulazhan.

Following Khairulazhan’s absence, the Harimau Malay squad are now relying on Khairul Fahmi Che Mat and Kalamullah Al-Hafiz Mat Rowi for goalkeeping duties. — Bernama

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