BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
Terengganu FC II head coach Tengku Hazman Raja Hassan has hit back against Malaysia U-22 head coach Datuk Ong Kim Swee's claim that Hazman has ignored his efforts to call up one of the East Coast side's players as replacement.
After four clubs refused to release five players to join the junior national team preparations for the coming 2019 AFF U-22 Championship, Kim Swee was made to look for last-minute replacements, with one of them being Terengganu II winger Ridzuan Razali.
But on Monday Kim Swee was reported as saying by the media that Ridzuan has not been released by the Turtles, while his telephone calls and text messages to Hazman have been ignored.
On Tuesday, Hazman issued a statement through the club website, explaining that it was all a simple misunderstanding.
"I had been told by the club management earlier that they have received an official letter from the Malaysian FA (FAM), informing us of their intention to call up Izzan Shahmi Mustaffa. I as the head coach allowed him to go for the sake of the national team, even though the player is someone who is vital to the squad.
"Afterwards, on February 10, I was contacted through the telephone and Whatsapp by the Malaysia U-22 management, communicating their intention of calling up Ridzuan [as one of the replacements for the five absentees]. I responded that I needed to discuss the matter with the club management first, as the team had been given a two-day break after their match against Selangor United, and it was difficult to discuss the matter with the coaching staff through the phone. I planned to discuss it after evening train yesterday (Monday) before contacting the U-22 management as soon as it was possible.
"But before I could do that, Kim Swee was reported as saying that I was not cooperating, which was inappropriate considering I had asked for time to talk about his request. And on his claim that I was not answering his calls, it was because I was driving to Kuala Terengganu for training from Kota Bharu. I admit that I received two calls from an unknown number that I did not answer, because sometimes I decline such calls, and I did not know that the number belonged to Kim Swee's assistant. He should have left a voice message or texted me on Whatsapp, so that I knew who it was.
"Furthermore, why has the professionalism of the clubs who did not release their players not been questioned as well? If I were not interested in cooperating, I wouldn't have released Izzan," wrote Hazman.
Suggesting that the procedure for replacement player call-up be revamped, the former player nevertheless magnanimously apologised for the misunderstanding, and ended the statement by adding that Ridzuan has been allowed to join the Malaysia U-22 centralised camp.
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Walaupun ada kelab-kelab Malaysia yang enggan melepaskan pemain mereka menyertai kem Malaysia B-22, kelab @hadifayyadhh di Jepun, Fagiano Okayama berbangga melepaskannya bagi tugasan pasukan kebangsaan. Five of Hadi Fayyadh's Malaysia U-22 teammates have not been released by their Malaysian clubs, but his Japanese club @fagianookayama are proud to let him leave for national team duty.