The Malaysian national football team Harimau Malaya is set compete in the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Mitsubishi Electric Cup 2022. The tournament will be held from 20th Dec to 16th January 2023.
According to NST, the Football Association Malaysia (FAM) had previously announced an initial list of 41 players for centralised training. However, following discussions and agreement between the football association, head coach Kim Pan Gon, as well as the clubs involved, 12 players have decided to pull out from the tournament for various reasons. Among those include personal matters, family commitments and injury woes.
In an interview with Utusan, Kim admitted that this is the first time he has encountered a situation where players refused to join the national team. “Yes, in my career this is the first time. I am working here, in Malaysia, so I have to adapt to, and also accept whatever changes. I don’t want to complain,” he said. The South Korean native further stated that he accepts the decision. He also vowed to give the best treatment to the players taking part in the upcoming tournament.
This has also caught the attention of Tunku Mahkota Johor (TMJ), Tunku Ismail Idris. The Johor Prince took to his socials to share his take on Kim’s statement to the press. He wrote on his Instagram Story, “You’re using other people’s stuffs (players), but you’re not being considerate.”
TMJ went on to clarify that the players have their own reasons for refusing to represent Harimau Malaya for this year’s AFF Cup. He wrote, “The players don’t just blindly reject (the offer). They always give high commitment when representing the national team. However, the players are also human beings. They’ve been working, training and playing since January.”
The Johor Darul Ta’zim football club (JDT F.C.) owner added, “Is there any human who works without taking their time off? While we are on our breaks during the domestic league or tournament, the players are not taking breaks. They have to take part in a training camp for three weeks. The AFF cup “The AFF Cup is a tournament that disrupts the players and the schedule of the competition. The AFF Cup will be held until next January, so when they can get their days off? They’ve been playing and practicing non-stop for a year, and they only get 6 days off in a year? Players are not machines.”
For those who are curious, among the 12 players who opted to pull out from taking part in the upcoming AFF Cup 2022 include seven JDT footballers – Shahrul Mohd Saad, La’vere Lawrence Corbin-Ong, Nazmi Faiz Mansor, Arif Aiman Mohd Hanapi, Akhyar Rashid, Matthew Davies and Syafiq Ahmad.