BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
Despite the assurance of club officials that Indonesian duo Evan Dimas Darmono and Ilham Udin Armaiyn will rejoin Selangor's pre-season training after the Garudas' friendly match against Iceland on Sunday, the duo are reportedly yet to arrive in Malaysia.
In fact, Indonesia head coach Luis Milla insists on retaining the two in Indonesia for the team's training camp, according to CNN Indonesia.
"This is what we have to do. We have another week of TC (training camp) and Evan and Ilham are joining it. We have discussed this with the federation (Indonesian FA).
"In our future TC's, we don't want any problems with the club and want both parties to benefit," said the former Spain international.
Selangor manager Datuk Abdul Rauf Ahmad has yet to respond to Goal's enquiries on the matter, as of the time this article was published.
The Indonesian FA and the Red Giants had earlier been embroiled in a dispute for the services of Evan and Ilham, when the club confirmed the duo's signing back in December. They only left for Malaysia after Selangor relented to the federation's demand to have the players attend prolonged training camps with the Indonesia national team. They then joined Selangor's pre-season for five days, before returning to Indonesia last week to prepare for the friendly match against Iceland.
Indonesia will host the 2018 Asian Games, and their football team have been set a target of reaching the quarter-final stage.
Selangor head coach Maniam Pachaiappan has refused to comment on the arrangement struck betwewn the club and the federation and the pair's expected absence, despite the fact that he is only going to be signing four foreign players this season, instead of the maximum five allowed by league organiser Football Malaysia LLP (FMLLP).
Indonesia were defeated by World Cup debutantes Iceland 4-1 in their Sunday friendly, which was held at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium, Jakarta. The hosts' only goal in the encounter was scored by Ilham, in the 29th minute.