Harimau Malaya look to improve FIFA ranking

Football Association of Malaysia Secretary-general Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin places priority on improving Malaysia’s position in the FIFA rankings with more international friendlies

Football Association of Malaysia’s (FAM) new Secretary-general, Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin, announced yesterday that he wants Harimau Malaya to rise up in the FIFA rankings.

In his bid to start the ball rolling, he highlighted that K. Rajagopal’s team need to play more international friendlies instead of club sides to improve their 159th position.

The 48-year-old said: “We have already identified nine dates in the official FIFA calendar to play these friendlies.

“I have informed our international department to work on getting more international matches for the national team.”

Malaysia recently slumped to two defeats in club friendlies; 4-1 against Chelsea and 2-0 to J.League side Shimizu S-Pulse.

On another note, Hamidin also noted that there is no loss in challenging big clubs like Chelsea and Barcelona.

“Playing against clubs like Chelsea and Barcelona is great for the team.

“But we need to play and beat higher-ranked national teams to improve our world ranking.

“We’ll definitely take up those matches when the suitable team comes along.”

Following his statements, FAM have already confirmed a friendly clash for Malaysia to go up against China in Beijing on September 10.

Before that, the Malayan Tigers have Shonan Bellmare and Tokyo Verdy in their sights before they return from their tour in Japan.

The big game, however, will be against Barcelona on August 10 at the Shah Alam Stadium.

Despite the fact that they will play on the third day of the Hari Raya celebrations, Hamidin promised that the players would be fit for the game.

“The players will be given a two-day Hari Raya break but I believe they will still keep themselves in tip-top condition as all of them want to play a great team like Barcelona.

“They are focused on the task at hand,” Hamidin added.

Key names like Neymar, Lionel Messi, Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta will be in Kuala Lumpur for the epic clash.