Sunday, 28 August 2011

3 Malaysian players set to play in Slovakian League

Three Malaysian Under-23 players – midfielders Wan Zack Haikal Wan Nor and Mohd Irfan Fazail and defender Mohd Fadhli Shas – are set to create history by becoming the first Malaysians to feature in the Slovakian League with ViOn Zlate Moravce.

The three players were with the national Under-23 squad for a training-cum-playing stint in Slovakia and will be on loan with Zlate Moravce for three months – until November.

The trio were scheduled to make their debut against FK Senica in the Slovakian League late yesterday after getting their International Transfer Certificate (ITC) clearance on Friday.

Last year, Zlate Moravce were interested in offering contracts to Mohd Muslim Ahmad and Gary Steven Robbat but nothing came out of it. The national Under-23 team, who were in Slovakia from July to prepare for the final round of the Asian Zone Olympic qualifying tournament next month, will return home today.

The trio, however, will only return home on Sept 11.

National Under-23 coach Ong Kim Swee believes that the trio’s absence will not disrupt his preparations for their opening Asian Zone qualifiers against Japan on Sept 21. “I don’t think that the three players’ late return will disrupt our preparations as we will have 10 days to train together before we take on Japan,” said Kim Swee.

“Wan Zack, Irfan and Fadhli played well in all the seven friendlies in Slovakia and they deserve the loan stint. I strongly believe they can excel at this level.

“I believe the trio will return wiser and will add more strength to the team.”

Kim Swee’s boys recorded an impressive five wins and two losses in the seven friendlies against Eastern Europe club sides.

They lost 1-4 to Hungarian side Honved Budapest on Aug 9 and 0-1 to FC Nitra of Slovakia on Tuesday.

Their five wins were against FK Slovan Levice (1-0) on Thursday; Bodva Moldava (1-0, July 26); Topolcany (2-1, July 30); Mikulas Liptovsky (2-1, Aug 2); and Dolny Kubin (2-0, Aug 16).

Malaysia will play two Test matches against Iraqi club side Al-Arbil on Sept 9 and the Oman Olympic team on Sept 14 ahead of their match against Japan in Fukuoka.

The Under-23 squad have been drawn in Group C with Japan, Bahrain and Syria in the final round of qualifiers. After opening their campaign against Japan, Malaysia will face Syria on Nov 23 and Bahrain (Nov 27) at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil.

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