PETALING JAYA: It will be tough to fit the AFF Cup competition into the FIFA calendar.
Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) president Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin said the long duration of the tournament has made it almost impossible to fit the biennial football championship into the already congested FIFA calendar.
“We have to keep in mind that the FIFA calendar is not only for AFF but it’s also for 211 member nations ... we can try to request for more match days,” he said.
“Domestic competitions are important as well, there are countries who are not happy with a lot of matches and the AFF is a one-month long tournament.”
Hamidin, who is the national team committee chairman, said the Harimau Malaya need to be in Asia’s top 25 bracket for the 2026 World Cup/2027 Asian Cup qualifiers at the end of the year.
Hamidin, who has been elected into the FIFA Council recently, said national team coach Kim Pan-gon will announce the team’s plan soon for the FIFA match days from March 20-28, June 12-20, Sept 4-12, Oct 9-17 and Nov 13-21.
It’s going to be a crucial 2023 for Harimau Malaya as they need to plan well for the 2026 World Cup/2027 Asian Cup qualifying rounds scheduled on Oct 12.
The Malaysians are currently ranked No. 25 in Asia with 1066.6 points, followed closely by No. 26 Hong Kong, who have 1062.39 points.
“It is an important year ... teams out of the top 25 Asian teams will start their (qualifying) campaigns in October while the top 25 will start in November.
“We need to plan our friendly matches well,” he said.