Syed Saddiq to look into safety of Malaysian footballers in Indonesia

Indonesian supporters hurled stones and bottles at Malaysia’s Harimau Muda squad who defeated Indonesia on Thursday night. (Facebook pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman is to hold discussions with Indonesian officials today on the safety of Malaysia’s Under-19 football team after Indonesian fans reacted violently to a defeat of their national team.

Indonesian supporters threw stones and bottles at the Malaysian players as they were about to enter the stadium tunnel after winning a semi-final match against Indonesia by 3-2 on penalties after ending the match 1-1 in extra time.

Malaysia’s Harimau Muda squad were escorted by security officers when they left the stadium. No one was injured, Bernama reported.

Syed Saddiq, who is due in Indonesia today for a working visit, said his ministry took a serious view of the incident as it involved the safety of the national athletes, especially as a Malaysian contingent will be in Indonesia for the 18th Asian Games in August.

Indonesian authorities had promised to improve safety ahead of the final of the Asean Football Federation Under-19 Championship in Surabaya today, when Malaysia play Myanmar.

The Football Association of Malaysia are considering sending a protest letter to the Asean Football Federation and the Asian Football Confederation.

FAM’s acting president, Mohd Yusoff Mahadi, said he would discuss the matter with the new president, Hamidin Mohd Amin, who assumes duties today.

Yusoff said more tournaments are being held in Indonesia this year including the Asian Games and the 2018 Asean Football Federation Cup.

Indonesian Football Association president Joko Driyono had promised to increase the level of security for the Malaysian squad at their training session and at their hotel.