By Shazwan Zulkiffli
While the infamous Kim Jong-nam case is still cooling down since we’ve all manner of bad news to talk about, you wouldn’t have expected Malaysia and North Korea to publicly communicate in a friendly manner any time soon. However, it is being reported that the Malaysian football team will be playing their rescheduled 2019 Asian Cup against North Korea on June 8 after the match was confirmed by the Asian Football Confederation.
The relationship between Malaysia and North Korea appeared to be in shambles after DPRK supreme leader Kim Jong-un’s half brother Kim Jong-nam was poisoned at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport and was believed to have been assassinated. Pressure escalated when the Malaysian government refused to allow the DPRK to retrieve the body without a DNA sample from the deceased’s family.
In March, Harimau Malaya was scheduled to play in Pyongyang but the fixture was postponed due to security concerns surrounding Malaysians’ ability to go in and out of North Korea. AFC initially considered moving the game to a neutral venue, but after lengthy meetings and discussions, the confederation decided that the Malaysian squad will be
In the midst of that, the squad is going through a decades-delayed transition with the monumental election of TMJ as President of FAM. The squad isn’t in the best of shape with the absence of a proper coach after Ong Kim Swee stepped down and Mario Gomez declined the offer.
Nevertheless, it’s going to be an interesting match to watch!