— The national football team has no choice except to continue with the challenges in the second round of the 2022 World Cup/ 2023 Asian Cup qualification without any optimum preparation should the event be held in March.
Team manager, Datuk Mohd Yusoff Mahadi admitted that the squad under head coach Tan Cheng Hoe may not gather for team training after the centralised training camp scheduled for this month was cancelled.
He said with the 2021 Malaysia-League competition starting at the end of February and the uncertainty over the implementation of Movement Control Order (MCO) presently, have compounded efforts to group players together.
“We have no choice as we could not hold it (centralised training camp) this month. If we want to call players in February, they would be busy with their respective club preparations for M-League which is commencing on February 26.
“Under such circumstances, how are we going to call them for a 10-day centralised camp, which team would released their players when they are busy with pre-season preparations,” Mohd Yusoff who is also the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) deputy president told Bernama today.
The centralised training camp for the national squad was scheduled from Jan 15 to 26 since November last year but had to be called off following the implementation of MCO in six states for 14 days until Jan 26.
At the same time, he said FAM was awaiting the official decision of International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) on the qualifying competition schedule, on whether to go ahead in March or postpone it to June at a selected location.
According to him, the national team can benefit from the international match calendar from March 22 to 30 for centralised training if FIFA decides to postpone the qualifying competition to June.
“In my view, they (FIFA) have to announce quickly so as not to burden all countries in deciding the direction this season. Nonetheless, whatever decision FIFA makes, we have to make new plans or adapt to the situation for the competition.
“So far, I could see that if the qualifying matches were to be held in March, it would be difficult to organise centralised training but if it is held in June, we still have a chance,” he added.
Malaysia are scheduled to meet the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in Dubai on March 25 before hosting Vietnam on March 30 in Group G second round 2022 World Cup / 2023 Asian Cup Qualifiers.
Source: BERNAMA News Agency