BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
The 2019 edition of Indonesia's Liga 1 had just concluded last weekend, well past the final matchdays of the other leagues in the Southeast Asian region.
As a result, their 2020 season and pre-season preparations are likely to start later than the other leagues do, which in turn may force Persib Bandung to feature in the 2020 Asia Challenge pre-season tournament, which is set to be hosted by Malaysia's Selangor on January 18 and 19 next year, with reserve players instead.
According to head coach Robert Alberts, the club will only begin its pre-season preparations on January 22, hence his reluctance to take his key players to Malaysia severely underprepared.
"We will take part in the tournament by fielding players who have not received a lot of playing minutes.
"New signings will arrive on January 10. Those who have played regularly this season will come back on the 20th, with official pre-season training kicking off on the 22nd," explained the Dutch trainer after their 5-2 home win over PSM Makassar on Sunday, as quoted by the Indonesian edition of Goal.
The Bandung-based club ended the 2019 season in sixth place out of 18 teams, but according to Selangor secretary-general Johan Kamal Hamidon, they were invited to take part in the tournament due to the massive support they command in Indonesia, as well as in Malaysia.
The other two clubs who will take part in the tournament that will be played at the Shah Alam Stadium, Shah Alam, are V.League 1 champions Ha Noi FC and Thai League 1 outfit Bangkok United.
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Menurut CEO PFAM Izham Ismail, adalah tidak adil buat kelab-kelab menggunakan alasan yang mereka tidak mendapat bayaran hak penyiaran 2019 dari MFL untuk tidak menjelaskan bayaran kepada pemain-pemain. @pfamalaysia CEO @izham17 does not believe that it's fair for Malaysian clubs to miss its payments to players just because league organiser Malaysia Football League isn't able to settle the 2019 broadcast rights payment in full.