Malaysia to learn qualifying fate today

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KUALA LUMPUR: How far Malaysia can fulfill its dream of qualifying for the 2012 London Olympics and the 2014 World Cup in Brazil will be known today as draws for the two major events will be held here.

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) said in its website yesterday that the draws would be held at 3pm at its headquarters in Bukit Jalil.

AFC said the second round draw for the 2012 Olympics will see Malaysia joining 10 other teams who have Malaysia to learn qualifying fate today qualified from Round One, as well as 13 direct entrants.

Others are Kuwait, Thailand, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Iran, Yemen, Hong Kong, Jordan, India and Turkmenistan who had won their respective first round encounters.

South Korea, North Korea, Australia, China, Japan, Iraq, Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Lebanon, Uzbekistan and Vietnam were given direct entry to the second round, based on their performances during the 2008 Beijing Olympics qualifying rounds.

Malaysia, under the tutelage of Ong Kim Swee, moved into the second round after beating Pakistan 2-0 on aggregate, winning 2-0 in the first match at the Shah Alam Stadium on Feb 23, and drawing the away match 0-0 at the Punjab Stadium in Lahore, Pakistan on March 9.

Malaysia last qualified for the Moscow Olympics in 1980 but did not see action due to an US-led boycott after the Russians had invaded Afghanistan, are hoping to return to the scene after 31 years, and see real action.

The last time Malaysian players were involved in real-time action was during the 1972 Munich Olympics, a good 39 years ago.

In another draw ceremony, Malaysia’s World Cup team led by coach K Rajagobal will know their rivals since the draw for first and second round will take place as well.

Malaysia had never qualified for the World Cup since first taking part in the qualifying rounds in 1974. — Bernama