PETALING JAYA: National football coach Allan Harris wants no interruption once his players report for the final phase of training on April 10 for the pre-Olympic tournament.
The Englishman said that he had already compromised with the State FAs and clubs with a delayed start to the training camp from tomorrow to April 10.
“I don’t want the training to be messed up with players coming in and out once we get down to serious work,” said Harris.
Previously, players were released from camp for two days when their services were needed by their states or clubs in Premier I, II and FA Cup matches. The FA of Malaysia (FAM) also pay the salaries of the players when they are in national training camp.
With no interruption in the training camp, teams will have the services of their national players for three more matches in Premier I (April 1, 5, 8) and Premier II (April 2, 6, 9). Those in the FA Cup quarter-finals (April 12 and 19), semi-finals (May 10 and 17) and final (May 31) will have to make do without their national players.
Basement side Terengganu in Premier I and Negri Sembilan in Premier II are the most affected teams with each team having four players in the 25-member pre-Olympic training squad. Kedah and Perak will have three players each in camp.
Malaysia have a first-round bye in the Olympics qualifying tournament. They will play the winners of the match between Turkmenistan and India in the second round. The first-leg match will be played in Kuala Lumpur on May 3 and the return match is scheduled for June 7.
If Malaysia advance, they will play in the final qualifying rounds involving 12 teams, who will be divided into three groups. The group champions qualify for the Olympics in Athens next year.
Harris said that the team would have two friendly games in Bangkok in the middle of next month and they would play against the Jordanian national side in another two matches at home later in the month.
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