BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
Malaysia team manager Datuk Seri Subahan Kamal has revealed that the Malaysian FA (FAM) has planned three friendlies for the Malayan Tigers ahead of their Asian Cup qualification group match against Hong Kong in September.
In the monthly national team press conference held at the FAM headquarters on Tuesday, Subahan said that the matches will be held in August.
"There are a few test matches that the national team department is arranging. Rest assured that the one that is confirmed is an away match on the 25th (August), against Macau.
"On the 26th we will be flying off to Yangon, Myanmar and on the 29th we will play Myanmar.
"Then we will come back and have a short Aidiladha break on the first (of September), the boys will come back on the second, and we will have the game (against Hong Kong) at the Hang Jebat Stadium in Melaka on the fifth of September," he explained.
The plan to play against Syria is still being finalised by FAM, according to Subahan, who is also the association's deputy president.
"We're trying to get Syria because Syria will play a qualification match against Qatar in Melaka as well.
"We're trying to talk to Syria to get them to play against us on the 22nd, so coach Nelo (Malaysia head coach Nelo Vingada) has three matches (before the Hong Kong match)," added Subahan.
The match between Syria and Qatar match is a World Cup qualification stage three fixture, and is scheduled to take place on August 31. Syria have been playing their World Cup qualification matches in Malaysia due to the war in the country.
One of the reasons the Hang Jebat was chosen as the venue is that stadiums near Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia near where the FAM headquarters is, will be occupied around the time.
"On the 14th (of August) the team will arrive for the central training camp in Melaka.
"This time Melaka will host it as most of the stadiums in Kuala Lumpur will be occupied by the SEA Games which will end on the 30th," pointed out Subahan.
According to Vingada, the matches will be used as points of reference for the Tigers, especially because Malaysia have played against Macau and Myanmar in 2016.
"Macau is ranked lower than us (in the FIFA ranking), but last year we played them also in Melaka and it ended in a 0-0 draw. So we can compare. Also, Macau and Hong Kong are near, I have been to both countries and the football is not too different.
"Myanmar are also good, and they too played against us last year. We will then have two references according to the results.
"Syria will be tough, but it will be a challenge to build our capacity. Syria have not been able to play at home, but they drew against Iran, they beat Uzbekistan, and drew against China," explained the Portuguese trainer.