KUALA LUMPUR, June 1 — Malaysian-Belgian player Dion Cools is set to don the Harimau Malaya jersey in the second round of the 2022 World Cup/2023 Asian Cup Qualifiers in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), this month.
The matter was confirmed by Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) president Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin in a statement posted on FAM’s official Facebook account.
According to FAM, Cools, 24, who played with Danish League team FC Midtjylland arrived at the hotel where the national squad is staying in Dubai today.
Cools arrived after all the documentation process at the International Football Federation (Fifa) and Asian Football Confederation (AFC) levels were completed, especially with regards to his qualification eligibility and registration with the team.
“His presence will be a huge boost to the team,” said Hamidin.
Cools, whose father is Belgian and mother Malaysian, became the 26th player in the Harimau Malaya squad after chief coach Tan Cheng Hoe listed 25 players for the World Cup 2022/Asian Cup 2023 qualifying campaign.
In the Group G second round qualifying campaign, Malaysia will play UAE this Thursday followed by Vietnam on June 11 and Thailand on June 15
Talks on Cools joining the national squad had been circulating among national football fans since last week.
This came after Danish Club FC Midtjylland uploaded a statement on their website that Cools had received his first international call-up to join the Harimau Malaya squad after deleting his name from their list.
Born in Kuching, Sarawak, Cools was fielded 32 times by FC Midtjylland during the 2019/20 and 2020/21 seasons, including three times in the Championships League.
He performed admirably against Liverpool stars such as Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Diogo Jota when the two teams met in Group D of the Champions League this season.
FAM had previously tried to get Cools to join Harimau Malaya but he was said to have stated that he was not ready as he wanted to focus on his career in Europe first. — Bernama