National youth coach Ong Kim Swee (left) checks on his charges while mingling with them after centralised training as they prepare for the AFF U-22 Championship in Phnom Penh, Cambodia from February 17-26. (PIC BY LUQMAN HAKIM ZUBIR)

KUALA LUMPUR: The Kedah FA (KFA) have stressed that their decision not to release young player Mohd Fadzrul Danel Mohd Nizam to join the national Under-22 (U-22) squad is in no way an act of revenge towards the FA of Malaysia (FAM).

This follows claims that KFA refused to release their midfield stalwart because of ill feelings towards the national football governing body following the controversy surrounding the transfer of young national forward Akhyar Rashid to Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) earlier during pre-season.

Instead, KFA honorary secretary, Mohd Asmirul Anuar Aris explained that Mohd Fadzrul’s valuable services are very much needed by The Red Eagles coach, Aidil Sharin Sahak for their challenge in the Super League.

In fact, Asmirul pointed out that KFA have already informed FAM officially of their decision not to release Mohd Fadzrul for National youth coach Ong Kim Swee’s centralised training camp which began two days ago.

"For now our team really needs Mohd Fadzrul quite badly for the Super League because as everyone already knows, our team is still in the process of being turned around for the better after a couple of changes from last season.

"It is in no way because of revenge over Akhyar’s case, the KFA management are professional and so to are FAM. In fact we have a good working relationship with FAM on a lot of other matters.

"The Kedah team this season is still relatively new, the understanding and camaraderie among the players is still being nurtured and perhaps after this we will be more cooperative towards FAM in releasing our players who are called up for national duty,” Asmirul told NSTP Sport yesterday.

Before this, KFA were said to be unhappy with FAM’s decision especially concerning the value of compensation that was set at RM75,000 for Akhyar which they felt was unfair.

This led to KFA taking their case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and it is still being deliberated.

Apart from Mohd Fadzrul, four other players — Muhammad Danial Amier Norhisham, Muhammad Zahril Azri Zabri (Felda United), Mohd Faisal Abdul Halim (Pahang) and Syahmi Safari (Selangor) — were also not released by their respective teams to join the U-22 squad.

This has left Kim Swee in a difficult position as he prepares the squad to mount a serious challenge for the AFF U-22 Championship that will be held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia from February 17-26.

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