The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) have demanded a letter of explanation from Safiq Rahim, Aidil Zafuan, S. Kunanlan and Amirulhadi Zainal after they their shock retirement from international football.
The Johor Darul Ta’zim quartet announced that they would no longer be turning out for the national team through their club’s Facebook page a short while after returning from Malaysia’s tour of Oceania.
On Monday, Malaysia coach Ong Kim Swee admitted that the loss of the quartet, who have played 241 internationals between them, will hit the team hard.
“The biggest change will be the backline, as Aidil and Kunanlan were an integral part of the team” Kim Swee said at FAM headquarters. “I can’t make an immediate transformation with the younger players, but we have enough time to scout for replacements.
“I have delegated my coaching staff to assess the players at the ongoing league and Malaysia Cup, and we will pick the best players available.”
In a statement released by FAM, the body’s general secretary Hamidin Mohd Amin revealed that he plans to speak to Johor owner Tunku Sultan Ismail about the players’ retirements.
“TMJ also wants the national team to really improve, and I will speak to him about it,” the statement said.
Meanwhile, FAM denied the allegations made by Johor that their players got injured while training with the national team.
“Statement on the national team’s lack of high intensity training, which led to injuries, is not true,” FAM said. “Throughout the tour, only four players suffered injuries. They were Shahrom Kalam (Selangor), Mahali Jasuli (JDT) and Abdul Latiff Suhaimi (PDRM) against Papua New Guinea on June 17.
“Zaquan Adha (JDT II), meanwhile, was injured against New Caledonia on June 22. This proves that the statement of five JDT players who returned from national duty injured is not true.”