Saudi Arabia, Oman Tests Await Harimau Malaya Ahead Of 2023 Asian Cup Finals

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Saudi Arabia, Oman tests await Harimau Malaya ahead of 2023 Asian Cup finals
Saudi Arabia, Oman tests await Harimau Malaya ahead of 2023 Asian Cup finals

Malaysia and Oman have been drawn in the same group for the second round of the 2026 World Cup/2027 Asian Cup Qualifiers.

SHAH ALAM — Malaysia and Oman, who have been drawn in the same group for the second round of the 2026 World Cup/2027 Asian Cup Qualifiers, will also square off in the last friendly match for the Harimau Malaya, before they kick off their 2023 Asian Cup campaign in Qatar next January.

Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) president Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin, in confirming this, said the head coach Kim Pan Gon’s Harimau Malaya will take on Saudi Arabia first in Doha, Qatar before flying to Oman for the second friendly.

“The national team will definitely play against Saudi Arabia in Doha on 3 Jan before flying to Oman.

“Whether or not we are in the same group, I feel that this is good because it will be played behind closed doors.

“This is the time for Pan Gon to have another look at his team and make any tactical changes or improvements,” he said after the launch of the 2023 National Women’s League (NWL) at the UiTM Stadium here today.

In the second round of the 2026 World Cup/2027 Asian Cup Qualifiers, which will begin in November, Malaysia has been drawn in Group D with Oman, Kyrgyzstan and the winner of the playoff between Taiwan and Timor Leste.

In the second round of the Qualifiers, Malaysia will first travel to Oman on 21 March, 2024 before entertaining them at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil five days later.

Suspension

As for the 2023 Asian Cup Finals from 12 Jan – 10 Feb next year, Malaysia are in Group E with two-time champions South Korea, Jordan and Lebanon.

Meanwhile, commenting on the one-month suspension of Selangor FC winger and Harimau Malaya ace Mohamad Faisal Abdul Halim, Hamidin said it would be up to Pan Gon to decide whether to call up the player.

It is uncertain if Mohamad Faisal will be called up for the two Tier 1 international friendlies against Syria (on 6 Sept) and China (on 9 Sept) in Chengdu, China following the one-month suspension imposed by FAM. — Bernama

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