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Malaysia squad to meet up for training camp regardless of North Korea travel ban

Malaysia’s national players are still expected to join centralized training next week, despite their government ordering them not to travel to North Korea for an AFC Asian Cup qualifier on March 28.

Ong Kim Swee’s squad will be selected later this week and they will assemble at Football Association Malaysia (FAM) headquarters on March 13 at the start of a break in the Malaysia Super League season.

“The squad will be named within 48 hours. We expect to play against North Korea at a neutral venue,” Malaysia assistant coach Brad Maloney told reporters.

The Malaysians are awaiting a response from the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) to their request about playing the third-round match against the North Koreans at a neutral venue.

A Chinese city would seem like a possible alternative venue for the March 28 qualifier against the North Koreans. But the AFC gave no indication of when they might hand down their decision.

Regardless of the outcome of that request, Malaysia are still likely to play a friendly against the Philippines on March 22 or 23 in Manila.

“The AFC will seek further clarification and information on the request in order for the decision-making process to take place. Until that clarification is received the AFC will make no further comment,” the AFC said in a statement.