KUALA LUMPUR: The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) are ready to open up opportunities to any player, especially from abroad, who has the quality to represent the national squad in an effort to beef up the team’s existing strength.
After Dion Cools, whose father is Belgian and mother Malaysian, was picked as the latest addition to the Harimau Malaya, FAM president Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin said the parent body hoped more players based abroad and are qualified could join the national team.
However, Hamidin said the players must first prove that they have the quality and the role they can contribute to the team.
“FAM hopes there are still many more players, maybe like (United States-based) Wan Kuzain (Wan Kuzain Wan Kamal) who tweeted to show interest (to join the national squad), FAM also communicated with him last year.
“For us, any quality player we are ready to accept to give an opportunity to the coach to enlist in the national team. And when we get them, we need to pray for the team’s success,” he said in a video uploaded on FAM’s official Facebook page, yesterday (June 2).
Yesterday (June 1), Cools, 24, brought cheer to local football fans when he was announced as the 26th player of the Harimau Malaya to face the remaining Group G matches in the second round of the 2022 World Cup/2023 Asian Cup Qualifiers in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) starting today (June 3).
Cools, who plays for FC Midtjylland in the Danish League, also has experience playing in the UEFA Champions League stage and will help Malaysia through three tough games, against the UAE today, Vietnam (June 11) and Thailand on June 15 in the qualifying campaign.
Meanwhile, Hamidin also extended his appreciation to former FAM president Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim for his big role in bringing Cools into the national team.
“TMJ (Tengku Mahkota Johor) contacted me two months ago and informed that he had talked to Dion (Cools) and convinced him to play for the Harimau Malaya. FAM is thankful to TMJ,” said Hamidin.
Harimau Malaya head coach Tan Cheng Hoe has listed 16 local players, seven mixed heritage players and three naturalised players in his squad to face the qualifying campaign in the UAE in the country’s mission to qualify for the 2023 Asian Cup finals. – Bernama