PETALING JAYA: The national team will rekindle the rivalry against neighbours Singapore in the AirMarine Cup.
Malaysia are drawn to kickoff their campaign against the Lions in the four nations tournament on March 20 which will also see Oman face Afghanistan to play in an earlier match at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil.
The winners of the two matches will face each other on March 23 to decide the winners of the tournament.
If the two teams are held to a draw after 90 minutes, the match goes straight into a penalty shootout.
The Harimau Malaya are using the tournament to improve their FIFA ranking points to move into the top-34 standings in Asia to gain a place in the second round of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers.
Malaysia are currently ranked No. 35 with Singapore lying in the 34th spot.
Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) president Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin said there would not be any issue with players selection despite the AirMarine Cup clashing with the AFC Under-23 championship qualifiers from March 22-26.
“The Under-23 qualifiers is an important one because the team are aiming to qualify for the Finals and the Olympics. The senior side are also important because they need to improve their ranking,” said Hamidin.
“I’ve met with (Tan) Cheng Hoe and Datuk Ong Kim Swee (Under-23 team coach), and we’ve come to an agreement.
“There’s a limit to the best Under-23 that Kim Swee can select such as Safawi (Rasid) and Akhyar (Rashid), but Cheng Hoe doesn’t have any limitations due to the options available.
“He can pick players who have done well during the opening rounds of the M-League season.”
On drawing Singapore, Hamidin said: “I thought we’ll get Oman because they are the highest ranked among the four teams in the tournament but it’s Singapore and now, I hope we can beat them to reach the final.”
Hamidin also announced that the national senior team will play one more international friendly against Nepal on March 26.
The match against Nepal will kickoff in the evening at the National Stadium before the national Under-23 team’s final Group J match of the AFC Under-23 qualifiers at the same venue.
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