Selangor still participating in Meizhou Hakka Cup despite virus outbreak in China

Selangor were among the first to complete their 2020 season roster, but have they done enough to help improve on their third-place finish last year?

BY        ZULHILMI ZAINAL       Follow on Twitter

Despite the outbreak of the coronavirus in Wuhan, China, Selangor will still travel to the country to take part in the four-team pre-season tournament, the Meizhou Hakka Cup at the end of the week.

The tournament, hosted by Chinese second tier side Meizhou Hakka FC and also participated by K League 1 club Sangju Sangmu and Thai top tier outfit Chonburi FC, is set to take place between 24 and 29 January in Meizhou, with Selangor officials telling Goal that they have confirmed their participation in the competition three months earlier.

But almost 1,000 km to the north of the Wuhua County, where the hosts are based, a deadly outbreak of the coronavirus has taken place in the city of Wuhan, Hubei, which so far has killed 17 people and infected 440 peple. The city's 11 million residents are also reportedly facing a quarantine put in place by the Chinese government.

According to Red Giants boss B. Satiananthan, the club management has decided that it is still safe for the squad to travel to China for the competition.

"The management decided that we will still go, so we have to stick with the plan as the [Malaysian] government has not announced a travel ban [to China]. According to the [health] ministry, we can still travel there and I have to do as the management has instructed.

"The players are a little concerned, but we have undergone a precautionary briefing given by a University of Malaya Medical Centre doctor, while the management is monitoring the situation

"If we cancel our participation, action might be taken against us as we had given our confirmation three months ago. Unless there is a travel ban issued, then we have no excuse to cancel the trip. On our part, we want the two friendlies against quality opponents," the experienced trainer told Goal just before conducting training on Wednesday.

But unlike in the 2020 Asia Challenge tournament which they hosted last weekend, the former Malaysia boss will not take their reserve team players along, while three injured players too will be left behind to continue their recovery processes.

"Zahril [Azri Zabri] and Anwar [Ibrahim] are the only young players I'm going to list on the squad, and not the AMD (Mokhtar Dahari Academy) graduates signed to Selangor II.

"Rufino [Segovia], Wan Zack [Haikal] and Norhakim [Hassan] will all stay behind due to their injuries and continue recovering. When we return, Rufino and Wan Zack will rejoin training," he explained.

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