Credit: FB Football Association of Malaysia
26/02/2024 09:07 PM

PETALING JAYA, Feb 26 (Bernama) -- The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) has a ‘Plan B’ in case the condition of the Bukit Jalil National Stadium (SNBJ) is not satisfactory to be used as a venue for the 2026 World Cup/2027 Asian Cup qualifying match on March 26.

Its president Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin said FAM would visit the hallowed Harimau Malaya stadium in early March before deciding whether to confirm the stadium as the stage for the prestigious match or choose another stadium.

He said if SNBJ’s pitch is not suitable for use, the match will be held at either the Sultan Ibrahim Stadium in Johor or the Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin Stadium in Terengganu.

Credit: FB Football Association of Malaysia

“The Malaysia Stadium Corporation (PSM) is aware that we will make a visit there, in early March (to inspect the) venue for the match against Oman, if Bukit Jalil is not good, maybe (it will be) Johor’s Sultan Ibrahim Stadium.

“I have not consulted with the Regent of Johor, Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim. But if not (Johor), then it’s the stadium in Terengganu. Kim Pan Gon wants the quality of the field to be perfect,” he said at the FAM Women’s Football town hall session here today.

SNBJ, which was used as the venue for Ed Sheeran’s concert on Saturday (Feb 24), sparked public concern since the pitch was previously damaged after the concert of the UK band Coldplay on Nov 22 last year, to the point of disrupting the Dec 8 final of the 2023 Malaysia Cup.

However, PSM in an earlier statement informed that it had taken proactive steps by hiring ‘Labosport’ experts to preserve the stadium pitch for the important match in March.

According to PSM, before the Feb 24 concert, it transplanted 1,900 square metres of turf from the field to a nursery, to accommodate the stage and audio tower for Ed Sheeran’s World Tour concert leg in KL.

Meanwhile, Hamidin said national senior squad head coach Pan Gon will announce the final list for the Harimau Malaya squad for the 2026 World Cup/2027 Asian Cup Qualifying match in March.

“KPG (Kim Pan Gon) is finalising the list … on March 21 he will announce it, it is being finalised.”

"We start the Malaysian League in May, so there are constraints to convene the national team, as some teams are on holiday and some are starting to train,” he said.

Malaysia have an important mission to qualify for the 2026 World Cup, after leading Group D with six points from two wins against Kyrgyzstan (4-3) and Taiwan (1-0).

Harimau Malaya are scheduled to face Oman in Muscat on March 21 before hosting the second leg in Bukit Jalil on March 26.