National squad left in the dark after AFC announce re-draw

  • Football
  • Saturday, 21 Jul 2018

PETALING JAYA: The National Under-23 squad are in a dilemma as they are committed to play China on Aug 5 as preparation for the Indonesia Asian Games from Aug 18-Sept 2.

Coach Datuk Ong Kim Swee said the match was lined up after the Asian Games Organising Committee (AGOC) had conducted the draw for the football competition involving 24 teams on July 5.

The friendly match with China was scheduled in Changzhou while another friendly with Saudi Arabia has been scheduled in Kuala Lumpur on Aug 9.

Malaysia were drawn with defending champions South Korea, Kyrgyzstan and Bahrain in Group E.

But now there is a snag as the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) had informed the media that there will be a re-draw and the new date would be announced soon.

However, the AGOC had not made any official statement on the new development.

It is learnt that the earlier draw had been scratched because United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Palestine were omitted from the draw and India had made a last minute request to be included.

Kim Swee did not rule out the possibility that Malaysia could be paired with China or Saudi Arabia if a new draw was held for the Asian Games.

“We cannot cancel the friendly with China as the visa and logistics arrangements have been completed and it’s not possible for it to be scrapped at the eleventh hour. On top of that there’s TV rights involved because the match will be broadcast live in China. We have no choice but to play the match,” said Kim Swee yesterday.

“If there is a new draw, they should do it as soon as possible because many countries have already planned ahead for the Asian Games.”

“We now have around three weeks before the Asian Games football competition and we have yet to receive the schedule of the tournament and we don’t even know how many teams are taking part as well as the format,” he said.

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