FAM pleads time for Vingada to make the team his own

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FAM issued a statement addressing concerns around the selection for Harimau Malaya and pleads for fans to allow Vingada time to build the team

Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) issued a statement on Monday denouncing the claims that the selection of the national team was made by the upper echelons of FAM. The average age of the 26-man squad is at 27.8 but the presence of a number of players who are on the wrong side of 30, has created a uproar amongst the fans.

FAM through Datuk Hamidin Amin went about to explain that the decisions were made by the coaches but also hinted that future squads may take a different shape once newly-hired Nelo Vingada has the chance to observe players when the domestic competitions resumes.

"First of all, the selection of the players was not decided by the highest management at FAM. In fact, it was a list suggested by assistant coach Tan Cheng Hoe, because Nelo Vingada only reached Malaysia on 23 May and did not have a chance to assess the players in action. Based on the list of 26, only nine players are over 30 whereas the 17 others are under the age of 30."

"However, everyone need to know that Vingada is a coach who likes to give chances to younger players. He has told us that he will scout for players from the 2017 SEA Games Project squad to be roped into the senior side in the future.

"It's just that for the first match against Lebanon on 13 June, Vingada doesn't have sufficient time and it is thought that using the existing squad is the best solution.

"After the Raya celebrations when the leagues resumes and Malaysia Cup starts, Vingada will be able to assess all players. For sure, the squad for the next games in September, October and November will see a combination of young and senior players," said Hamidin in his statement.

The other bone of contention with the fans was the fact that four players who had last year announced their retirement from international football, were given a reprieve back in to the national team fold. Of this, Hamidin reassured fans that it is purely because FAM did not want to close the door on them and that this would give Vingada a chance to evaluate them - noting that the Portuguese may decide otherwise on their selection.

"Secondly, regarding the issue of Safiq Rahim, Aidil Zafuan, S. Kunanlan and Amirulhadi Zainal who had previously chose to retire from international football - it is their right to want to play again for the national team."

"Maybe the four of them feel more confident towards the leadership of FAM who is now led by HRH Tunuki Ismail Sultan Ibrahim as the main factor why they want to be available again. Their selection were also based on suggestion from Tan and their performance will be monitored, as they are not guaranteed a spot in the team," added Hamidin.

Malaysia face Lebanon in their first match of the 2019 Asian Cup qualifiers after earlier postponement of what was supposed to be the first match against North Korea.

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