KUALA LUMPUR: National defender Mohd Muslim Ahmad could play in the opening Asean Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup match after all.
The 25-year-old Police centreback had picked up a red card in the 3-1 loss to Vietnam in an “A” international friendly in Hanoi last Sunday and was expected to be suspended for the opening game – against Myanmar – at the Jalan Besar Stadium in Singapore on Sunday.
But national coach Dollah Salleh was informed by the Football Association Malaysia (FAM) on Tuesday that Muslim will not have to serve his suspension in the biennial tournament.
“I’ve been informed by FAM officials that suspensions in friendly matches do not apply in the Suzuki Cup because it’s a different tournament. As such, Muslim will only have to serve his suspension in the next friendly,” said Dollah, who added that FAM will clarify the matter with the AFF.
The defence has been one of Malaysia’s weakest links following injury problems to key players.
Dollah was earlier forced to drop sweeper Mohd Aidil Zaquan Abdul Razak from the final 22-player squad because of a knee injury. The coach also dropped winger R. Gopinathan for the same reason.
Muslim, who was a member of the victorious 2010 AFF Suzuki Cup squad, is looking forward to playing against Myanmar.
“I’m delighted to hear the good news. I’m eager to redeem myself and play in the opening game,” Muslim said after a training session on the artificial pitch at the National Sports Council (NSC) grounds on Tuesday.
“My red card against Vietnam was a spontaneous reaction ... something that’s normal in football. I will continue to play my way ... which is aggressive football.”
THE FINAL 22
Mohd Farizal Marlias, Khairul Fahmi Che Mat, Khairul Azhan Khalid.
Mohd Afif Amiruddin, Mahali Jasuli, Mohd Azmi Muslim, Shukor Adan, Zubir Azmi, Mohd Muslim Ahmad, Fadhli Shas.
Mohd Safiq Rahim, Mohd Badhri Mohd Radzi, Gary Steven Robbat, S. Kunalan, Azamuddin Akil, Mohd Hafiz Kamal, Baddrol Bakhtiar.
Norshahrul Idlan Talaha, Safee Sali, Indra Putra Mahayuddin, Mohd Amri Yahyah, Abdul Manaf Mamat.