JDT and MSL join forces to boost Malaysia's Asian Cup bid

Clubs and the Malaysia Super League alike have expressed their support to the Malaysia national team. 

Malaysia will take on Timor Leste in the Asian Cup 2019 Playoff 1 in order to qualify for the final round of the qualifying campaigns.

The first leg of the two-legged affair falls on 2 June, before the return game five days later.

Malaysia head coach Ong Kim Swee has already said he will not be underestimating Timor Leste and has begun preparations for the fixtures.

The national trainees will gather on 22 May for centralised training and will play an international friendly on either 27 May or 28 May before entertaining Timor Leste at home.

However, there could be a problem for Ong as there will be Malaysia Super League matches on 25 May.

Apart from that, if Darul Ta’zim and Selangor progressed into the last 16 of the AFC Cup, they will have games on 24 and 25 May.

Football Malaysia Limited Liability Partnership (FMLPP) chief executive officer Kevin Ramalingam was surprised with Ong’s proposal to start centralised training on May 22.

However, he stated the national team will have reasonable support from FMLPP.

“We have neither received a request from FAM nor Kim Swee to reschedule league matches. However, if there is one, we will look at it seriously as it involves the national team,” said Ramaligam.

FMLPP is not the only one offering to extend a supporting hand to Malaysia national team.

In a meeting between Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) and Ong on Wednesday, the club offered their assistance to help the national team in all aspects for international games.

The first leg of the playoff against Timor Leste will be hosted at Larkin Stadium as Ong’s trainees will be based in Johor Bahru ahead of the game.

“Johor Darul Ta’zim owner Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim is concerned about the national team. He has offered assistance to help the national team achieve their targets,” said Ong.

The move to train in Johor Bahru will be ideal as a quarter of the current national set-up are from JDT.

FAM are also preparing a proposal for the Timor Leste FA to play the return leg on June 7 either at Larkin Stadium or Shah Alam Stadium.

“We will propose covering all expenses to bring Timor Leste to Malaysia for the game,” said FAM general-secretary Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin.

If Malaysia lose to Timor Leste, they will have a second chance to make the Asian Cup Qualifiers through Playoff 2, slated for 6 Sept and 11 Oct.

Photo: JDT