KUALA LUMPUR, June 2 – Kuching-born Dion Johan Cools will touch a new dimension for Malaysian football with high hopes of helping Harimau Malaya advance to the next round from the Group G in the World Cup 2022/Asia Cup 2023 qualifiers which kick-off in Dubai tomorrow.
Born of mixed parentage – his father is a Belgian and his mother Malaysian – Dion Cools could be the answer to Malaysia’s weak link in Dubai.
Being a utility player who can play as a right-back, left-back, center-back or even as a defensive midfielder, Dion Cools is an asset to the team.
National football chief coach Tan Cheng Hoe is as excited as any others and hopes Dion Cools will fit the bill to complete his jigsaw in Dubai.
The only factor that against Cheng Hoe is TIME. Can Dion Cools settle fast with his new teammates and get into the system in a short period after joining the team in Dubai on Monday? Only time will tell.
However, Dion Cools, whose current club is Danish SuperLiga outfit Midtjylland and has vast experience playing at the highest level in Europe, having played in the Champions League and against the likes of greats like Mo Salah. Cheng Hoe is counting on this to solve his puzzle.
Another plus factor for Dion Cools is that he has maturity, having plied his football trade in Europe.
He could tighten things at the back. The Malaysian backline stood out like a sore thumb in the friendly matches against Kuwait and Bahrain which ended in 4-1 and 2-0 defeats for Harimau Malaya.
Based on his tactical experience, coupled with his responsibility, Dion Cools is set to make his Malaysian debut at the Zabeel Stadium in Dubai on Thursday (June 3) when Harimau Malaya takes on the United Arab Emirates.
Cheng Hoe, however, was quick to point out that the team will be picked on merit but did not rule out Dion Cools from his first team.
”A lot of factors will be taken into consideration. We need the best on the field…players who are committed and focused on getting a positive result. We cannot afford to make mistakes as we did against Kuwait and Bahrain,” said Cheng Hoe from Dubai.
Malaysia’s other matches are against Vietnam (June 11), and Thailand (June 15).
*(Pic credit to FAM Media)

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