BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
Last week the Malaysian FA (FAM) announced that should Super League champions Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) qualify for the 2018 AFC Champions League through the play-offs, their automatic spot in the AFC Cup, the continent's second tier club competition, will be handed to Selangor as the next best 2017 Super League finishers with an Asian Football Confederation (AFC) club licence.
When met by Goal during the team's first day of training for the 2018 season on Monday, Rauf admitted that although another crack at the cup could be financially costly for the Red Giants, it would be a good exposure for the young players in the team.
"Of course fans don't like to hear this, but playing in the AFC Cup is costly. Participating teams do receive money from the AFC, but it's only for home matches. It's the away fixtures that will cost you.
"However, it would be a shame for us to not participate in the competition if the opportunity presented itself. It would be a good exposure for the players in the team, as most of them are young. But ultimately the club executive committee has not decided on the matter yet," he explained.
He too commented on the club's decision to register only four foreign signings this season, as opposed to the maximum allowed five.
Earlier during the day, the club announced the full squad for the 2018 season on social media, almost two months ahead of the final date of the player registration period, as well as the 2018 M-League kickoff.
"One reason we signed only four import players this season is to avoid spending lavishly, but it's also to give the local players more playing time.
"What's the point of having signed and promoted all these young players, if they don't get the opportunity to play? We want to remain committed to developing local players," remarked Rauf.