KUALA LUMPUR, June 1 – Malaysia has received a timely boost for their Group G World Cup 2022/Asia Cup 2023 qualifiers campaign in Dubai with the arrival of former Belgium Under-21 international Dion Johan Cools.
It is a shot in the arm for Malaysia’s defence that showed its weakness – losing 4-1 to Kuwait in Dubai and 2-0 to Bahrain in Manama in the two friendly matches.
Born in Kuching, Dion Cools of mixed parentage, has got the clearance from FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), and things are made easier for the defender when he was already registered for the qualifiers – thanks to the foresight of the FA of Malaysia.
The FAM has been working on getting Dion Cools to play for Harimau Malaya although the player made it clear that he wants to take his football career to higher level with clubs in Europe.
The right-back whose father is Belgian and mother Malaysian, is certainly good news for national football head coach Tan Cheng Hoe.
Cheng Hoe will have more options in picking his backline, especially when Malaysia open their campaign in Dubai on Thursday (June 3).
The lanky Dion Cools celebrates his 25th birthday a day later (June 4). He comes with strong credentials, having played for the Belgium Under-18, Under-19 and Under-21 teams, and his current team is Danish Superliga side Midtjylland.
Having played in top leagues in Europe, Cheng Hoe believes that Dion Cools could not be a problem fitting into the Harimau Malaya team and the style of play.
Malaysia has three naturalised players in the team – Gambia-born Mohamadou Sumareh, Kosovo-born playmaker Liridon Krasniqi and Brazilian Guilherme de Paula.
After the match against the UAE, Malaysia will face Vietnam on June 11 before completing that fixtures with a match against Thailand on June 15.
*(Pic credit to FAM Media)

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