Harimau Malaya sets up Bahrain friendly

THE men’s national football team is set to take on Bahrain in a friendly match in Manama, Bahrain on Oct 2, provided that they get the green light from the Malaysian government to fly out, said Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) secretary-general Stuart Ramalingam.

He said the Harimau Malaya team will use the friendly against world No 99 Bahrain as a warm-up before its 2022 World Cup/2023 Asian Cup Qualifiers Group G match against the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in Dubai on Oct 8.

He acknowledged that FAM will need to get the government’s approval to fly to Manama due to the travel restrictions put in place to curb the spread of Covid-19.

The friendly was earlier scheduled for March 21, but was shelved due to the pandemic. Malaysia, which is ranked No 154, last played against Bahrain away in the 2015 Asian Cup qualifying round, losing 1-0.

“FAM and the Bahrain Football Association recently reached a verbal agreement to hold the friendly in Manama. National head coach Tan Cheng Hoe is expected to call up the players for centralised training a week before the team leaves for Bahrain,” Stuart told Bernama recently.

After taking on the UAE, Malaysia is set to entertain Vietnam at the National Stadium Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur, on Oct 13, before completing its fixtures against Thailand in Bangkok on Nov 17.

The Asian Football Confederation suspended all 2022 World Cup/2023 Asian Cup second qualifying round matches since March due to the Covid-19 pandemic. — Bernama