The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) president Datuk Hamidin Amin believes the Malaysia Under-23 players acted in self-defence in the brawl against the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Friday, and hopes the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) will favour them.
“I was at the stadium that night, and I saw that while our players had high sportsmanship, they had to react in self-defence. An incident like this will probably only happen once in 10- years,” Hamidin told Berita Harian.
Both sides clashed in the ill-tempered Asian Games warm-up friendly at Shah Alam Stadium, which saw players from both sides and officials getting involved.
UAE were the instigators after their players attacked the Malaysians, and their officials were also caught on camera assaulting the security officers on duty.
But FAM could also face sanctions from the AFC, after a few Malaysian players went at their opponents.
Hamidin is hoping the Asian body sees that the home side had to act in self-defence, after being provoked aggressively by the Arabians.
“We have already sent the incident report to the AFC and I have had a discussion with Datuk Windsor (John). Let’s hope the results favour us.”
If the AFC decides to act fast, they could come up with a verdict by this week.
A heavy sanction could result in the players involved getting a ban from competing at the Asian Games football tournament, which begins on Tuesday.
Datuk Ong Kim Swee is preparing to chart Malaysia’s fortunes in Group E, which contains defending champions South Korea, Bahrain and Kyrgyzstan.
The latest development to the 20-man squad will see Hadi Fayyadh and Rodney Celvin replacing the injured N. Thanabalan and Daniel Amier.
Malaysia open their account against Kyrgyzstan on August 15, followed by South Korea (August 17) and Bahrain.
Ong also makes history by becoming the first coach in Malaysian football history to lead the national U23 in back-to-back Asian Games, having done so in the 2014 edition.
In that edition, Malaysia crashed out of the group stage after losing to South Korea and Saudi Arabia.
Photo Credit: FAM