Just four days after it was announced that Malaysia will host a four-team tournament named the Airmarine Cup, one of the sides has already withdrawn. The Harimau Malaya had invited Singapore, Oman, and Solomon Islands, with the latter now retiring from the tournament.
According to the Football Association of Malaysia secretary-general Stuart Ramalingam, Solomon Islands have had to withdraw from the inaugural Airmarine Cup due to a clash of dates. The Oceanian nation had already arranged a fixture during the same time, which will now instead go forward as planned.
“They (Solomon Islands) had a mix-up with their dates.
“They initially agreed as they tried to withdraw from their pre-arranged match (with Taiwan) but they are unable to compete.
“We are in the midst of getting another team, and should be able to confirm within the next 24 hours,” said FAM secretary general Stuart Ramalingam today (via New Straits Times).
Solomon Islands’ withdrawal has put a snag in Malaysia’s F:30 plan, which is a road map for the Harimau Malaya to become one of Asia’s top five sides by 2030. The Airmarine Cup was being widely considered as the first step for the same.
Meanwhile, New Straits Times also reports that Afghanistan are being lined up as a potential replacement for Solomon Islands. If it goes to plan, the Asian side will join Malaysia, Singapore, and Oman for the inaugural tournament from March 20 to March 23.