Hannah: Wait until match day on Tuesday before commenting on pitch condition at Bukit Jalil stadium

PUTRAJAYA, March 22 — Buzz on the football pitch gone off-key again is back, but Youth and Sports Minister Hannah Yeoh said to wait until the day of Malaysia’s match against Oman this Tuesday to see the actual condition of the field at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium.

Asked to comment on some photos and videos circulated on social media claiming the pitch is in dire condition, she said they were not the latest pictures.

“Those pictures are not from yesterday or today, so we have to wait on the day of the match,” she answered curtly after a press conference on the collaboration between the Ministry of Youth and Sports (KBS) and the Malaysian Competition Commission (MyCC) here today.

Prior to this, photos and videos taken by drone went viral on social media, showing patchy turf at the hallowed ground of the Harimau Malaya squad. It is not the first time the condition of the pitch has become a hot topic.

The second round of 2026 World Cup/2027 Asian Cup qualifiers between Malaysia and Oman, is scheduled for 10pm next Tuesday (March 26) at the National Stadium.

Commenting on the Harimau Malaya squad’s 0-2 defeat to Oman in Muscat in early action this morning, Hannah said the home team performed well, for a team ranked 80th in the world.

In order to close the gap with the best teams in Asia, she hopes Kim Pan-gon’s squad, which is ranked world 132nd, will make good use of the additional allocation of RM5 million from the government to prepare for action against higher-ranked teams.

Meanwhile, Hannah did not rule out the possibility that Malaysia will send a small contingent to the 2024 Paris Olympics after several big names and the hockey squad failed to qualify.

“I believe our athletes have done their best. If they didn’t qualify, they have to accept it. We will make improvements, which is why the Road To Gold (RTG) has identified potential athletes in the Fast Track programme for the Los Angeles Olympics 2028.

“There are still those in the qualification process and I hope they’ll make it,” she said.

So far, only five athletes have qualified for Paris — Bertrand Rhodict Lises (diving), Nur Shazrin Mohd Latif (sailing), Johnathan Wong Guanjie (shooting), Ariana Nur Dania Mohd Zairi (archery) and Nur Aisyah Mohd Zubir (road cycling) — with a total of 20 to 29 athletes expected to qualify.

The 1960 Rome and 1988 Seoul Olympic Games recorded the lowest participation for Malaysia when only nine national athletes participated in each, while 62 athletes participated in the 1964 Tokyo Games. — Bernama




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