Sports Ministry wants U-23 team to be retained

KUALA LIPIS: The Youth and Sports Ministry aims to propose to the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) to retain the Under-23 football team as the national squad instead of allowing the players to play for the state and club teams in the M-League this year.

Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek said that only by doing so would the efforts to revive the glory days of Malaysian football be realised.

“Not all state teams and their coaches can provide the level of training, skills and stamina required of national players,” he said after opening the general meeting of the Pahang Youth Council here yesterday.

He said the Under-23 squad would have to be given greater exposure through training and matches with football clubs abroad.

He hoped that all the players would be retained in the squad to foster closer understanding on the pitch.

The Under-23 squad beat Vietnam 1-0 in the final to win the SEA Games gold medal in Laos last month to end a 20-year drought. They also beat Syria 4-1 in a friendly recently. — Bernama

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