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Import Players Can Add Colour To National Team When Facing Spurs

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KUALA LUMPUR: The inclusion of import players in the National squad that face English Premier League (EPL) club Tottenham Hotspurs in an international friendly can strengthen the team.

Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) must however, give a valid reason for their inclusion because fans may be skeptical about using foreign players.

“If we field an all-local national team, players will certainly get exposure…I feel the inclusion of one or two imports can add some depth to the National team.

“Of course when we include foreign players, we expect a better performance and result,” he told reporters after launching a programme here yesterday in conjunction with National Sports Day in October.

Local media reports had said the FAM had given National coach Dollah Salleh the green light to include five import players in the team that plays against Tottenham Hotspurs at the Shah Alam Stadium on May 27.

Meanwhile, Khairy urged Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim to give up the post of Amateur Swimming Union of Malaysia (ASUM) President which he had won last Saturday.

Khairy said since the Cabinet had issued a directive that no ministers should hold posts in sports associations, Shahidan would have to get the approval of the Cabinet if he wants to continue as ASUM President.

“By right he should not have contested,” he said.

On Saturday, Shahidan defeated Zainal Othman from Negeri Sembilan 34-6 to retain the post he had held since 1996.

Speaking of badminton, Khairy said though Datuk Lee Chong Wei is a deserving candidate for the World Championships in Jakarta, Indonesia come August, two other deserving candidates Chong Wei Feng and Zulfadli Zulkifli should not be deprived.

“I want to see Chong Wei in action at the World Championships but I hope his passage to Jakarta will be via a ‘wildcard’ because we have to be fair to Wei Feng and Zulfadli who are ranked 31st and 41st compared to Chong Wei’s 45th position,” he said after launching Fitness First Malaysia and Fit Malaysia at the Fitness First Club in The Gardens, Midvalley, here yesterday. – BERNAMA

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