Harimau Muda in Slovakian League

PETALING JAYA: The Harimau Muda senior team (national Under-21) will see action in Slovakia.

The FA of Malaysia (FAM) have managed to get Mohd Azraai Khor’s boys into the second-tier of the Slovakian National League (Division One) after their application to play in the Singapore League was rejected last month.

The FAM deputy president, Datuk Redzuan Sheikh Ahmad, said that the team would get 14 matches in a four-month league in Slovakia involving eight teams from Feb 27-May 29.

Redzuan said after an exco meeting chaired by FAM president Sultan Ahmad Shah at the Wisma FAM in Kelana Jaya yesterday that funding the stint for about 30 players and coaching staff was within the means of the FAM.

“We can afford it,” said Redzuan but he was not willing to disclose the amount the FAM needed to fork out.

“Everything is in place for the team to be stationed in Vion. They have seven home and seven away matches.

“I know it would have been better for them to play in our own league and with windows to engage them to foreign stints but we have deprived them of playing here.”

Last month, the FAM shot themselves in the foot for leaving the Harimau Muda squad stranded after the FA of Singapore (FAS) decided not to accept the Malaysian side in their 12-team league, which kicks off this month. They retained Japanese side Albirex Niigata and included newcomers Beijing Guo’an and France-based Etoile.

However, on a positive note, the FAM have a drawn up a comprehensive programme for the team after their stint in Slovakia, beginning with the Invitational Obama Cup in Michigan.

Redzuan added that the Harimau Muda seniors would compete in the four-team tournament against the national teams of Ghana, Kenya and Puerto Rico in May.

“They have picked one team from Asia and we have been invited to play in the Obama Cup for two consecutive years,” said Redzuan.

Harimau Muda, who are being groomed for the 2011 SEA Games in Indonesia, will also be going for training stints in Indonesia (July), India (September) and playing in the Newspaper Cup in Vietnam (October) and an invitational meet in Qatar (December).

The other decisions made at the exco meeting yesterday were:

● The Malacca Sukma (Malaysia Games) competition in June will be an Under-23 event. Each team can register only three national players;

● A total of eight teams have confirmed participation in the FAM Cup; and

● The FAM will have a new futsal court at their premises under the FIFA Goal Project this year.


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