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Cheng Hoe counting on Ramadan fixtures ahead of Timor Leste tie

5:36 AM EDT 5/7/19
Tan Cheng Hoe, Malaysia, AFF Championship, 12112018
Malaysia boss Tan Cheng Hoe is hoping that playing during Ramadan will help his players carry their momentum into their qualifying tie in June.

BY        ZULHILMI ZAINAL       Follow on Twitter

Malaysia head coach Tan Cheng Hoe is glad that the Malaysian league will continue to be played through the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

His Harimau Malaya charges in particular will be affected by the decision, as right after the fasting month ends, they will take on Timor Leste in the 2022 World Cup/2023 Asian Cup first qualifying round in Kuala Lumpur, on June 7 and 11.

"I believe that Ramadan league fixtures are beneficial in that it helps the national team. If the Malaysian league takes a break during the fasting month, it will disrupt the national players' momentum when they are called up.

"Playing during Ramadan will affect the players' fitness, but since they've done that in the previous season, I'm sure they will be able to adapt to it," said the former Kedah boss as quoted by Malaysian competitions organiser Malaysian Football League.

Up until the 2017 season, the Malaysian football calendar would be halted during the fasting month every season, and would only resume after the Eid festivity, which marks the end of Ramadan for Muslims all over the world.

Malaysian clubs are generally reluctant to play competitive matches during Ramadan due to decreased interest among match-attending fans, but the suspension of domestic matches for a month is not without adverse effects. The most obvious repercussion is fixture congestion, which would pop up when the latter half of the season resumes.

When Johor Crown Prince and JDT FC owner Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim became the MFL chairman, he introduced Ramadan fixtures as one of the many changes.

This season, three Super League and Premier League matchdays, as well as the remaining leg of the FA Cup quarter-final stage, will take place during Ramadan.

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