PETALING JAYA: The first phase of centralised training for the national football players, scheduled for Jan 20-30, has been called off following the cancellation of the friendly matches against Norway and Finland.
The cancellation of the matches is a big disappointment for national coach Allan Harris because his team will not get to play a single match this month.
But it comes as a relief to some of the state teams and clubs, who can now go into full swing with their pre-season plans. The new season begins on Feb 9 with the Charity Shield match between FA Cup winners Penang and Malaysia Cup champions Selangor.
National team manager Datuk Ibrahim Saad said yesterday: “We have no choice but to call off the scheduled first phase of training.”
There are three major assignments for national teams this year – the pre-Olympics (Under-23) in June; pre-Asia Cup (national team) in August; and the Vietnam SEA Games (Under-23) in December.
Harris had wanted his charges to play at least one international match a month to keep them in focus following their commendable performance in the Asean Football Federation's (AFF) Tiger Cup tournament in Singapore and Jakarta last month.