The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) defended its decision to send the Harimau Muda A squad to play in the First League of Slovakia and considered it an effort to elevate the country's performance in football.
FAM deputy president Datuk Seri Redzuan Sheikh Ahmad said the stint by the Under-21 team did not mean that FAM squandered money.
"The matter is subjective and FAM is monitoring their performance there. If its just playing friendlies, they might as well play here but we want that they play to enhance skills and experience."
"I want to stress that FAM does not waste money at will and we hope for public support," he said at a news conference related to the issue of the squad's trip to Slovakia at Wisma FAM, Kelana Jaya, on Monday.
He was commenting on newspaper reports that criticised the squad's particiapation in the First League of Slovakia as being just playing friendly matches and that the squad was not listed as a team competing in the league.
Redzuan said FAM constantly monitored the performance of the players and they were focused on their game.
"This the first time a national squad is playing in a foreign league and we have strived hard to give then an opportunity to enhance their football skills in that country," he said.
Redzuan said that after the Slovakia stint the Harimau Muda will play in the President Obama Cup in Michigan, the United States from May 18-25.
According to him, after playing in the Slovakia First League, the Harimau Muda is expected to play in the Singapore League next year if it was agreed to by the Football Association of Singapore.
Redzuan said FAM was planning to arrange four international matches for the squad with the Under-21 squads of Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland but the dates had not been fixed.