'Secret strategy' behind decision to move Harimau Malaya's home matches to Larkin - Hamidin

The Malaysian FA intends to move Malaysia's home matches 300 km to the south, from the Klang Valley area to Johor Bahru.

BY        ZULHILMI ZAINAL       Follow on Twitter

The Malaysian FA (FAM) has announced its intention of moving Malaysia's Asian Cup qualification home matches to the Tan Sri Dato Haji Hassan Yunos Stadium in Johor Bahru, from the Shah Alam Stadium and the Bukit Jalil National Stadium.

The announcement was made on Sunday by FAM secretary-general, Dato' Hamidin Amin. He explained that on top of the top-level facilities available at the Malaysian champions Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) home ground, the decision was also made due to several strategic reasons that he could not divulge.

"Other than good facilities, we have our own strategies why we use Larkin Stadium, but I can't reveal why," wrote Hamidin in the statement.

The Harimau Malaya have played its home matches mostly in the Klang Valley area near the capital Kuala Lumpur, although in recent years it has also played in Kuantan, Melaka, Johor Bahru and Kota Bharu. However, fan turnout during the national team matches in Klang Valley has been rather poor.

The last time the Tan Sri Dato Haji Hassan Yunos Stadium hosted matches involving Malaysia was last year, when it hosted both legs of Malaysia's Asian Cup playoff tie against Timor Leste on June 2 and 6. The home side won both legs 3-0.

Ever since JDT were taken over in 2013 by owner Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim, who late last month was voted as the new FAM president, its 30,000-seater home ground has undergone extensive renovation, to turn it into one of the best grounds in the country.