FAM mull over decision to grant Nigeria's request for stint

  • Other Sport
  • Sunday, 19 Jan 2003

PETALING JAYA: The FA of Malaysia (FAM) have not made a decision whether to accept Nigeria's Olympic football squad to train in Malaysia next month. 

Datuk Dell Akbar Khan, the FAM secretary general said yesterday, that they were aware of Nigeria's proposal but have yet to finalise the details although in an AFP report from Lagos on Thursday confirmed the arrival of the African team to make Malacca as their base for their month long centralised training to prepare for the 2004 Athens Games. 

“We have to look at their proposal and only then will we be able to make a decision. We will know for sure in a couple of days' time of their request,'' said Dell. 

It is learnt that the Nigerians have asked for five-star status accommodation and other packages, which is expected to cost the FAM a bomb during their stay here. 

Spokesman for the Nigeria FA, Samuel Kaalu also mentioned in the statement released from Lagos on Thursday, that during their stint in Malaysia, the team would also play against neighbouring countries from the South-East Asian (SEA) region - Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore and Indonesia. 

Nigeria, Olympic champions in 1996, have been drawn against Namibia in the preliminary rounds of the qualifying tournament for the 2004 Athens Games. The Under-23 team are also preparing for the eighth All-Africa Games, which Nigeria will stage from Oct 4-18. 

Meanwhile, it is a timely boost for the national team, if Nigerians are based in Malacca as the team have been deprived of international matches this month following the cancellation of the friendly matches scheduled against European sides - Norway and Finland, who were originally supposed to play with the Malaysian team. 

National coach Allan 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. 

Harris, a former assistant to Terry Venables of Spanish giants Barcelona in the mid-1980s, has three major assignments for the national football 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. 

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