Malaysia Asian Cup qualifier in North Korea postponed again by AFC
The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has postponed Malaysia's 2019 AFC Asian Cup qualifier in North Korea for a second time after deeming travel to Pyongyang to be a security risk.
The match, which was scheduled to be played on June 8, has now been delayed until Oct. 5 due to "geo-political tension on the Korean peninsula."
An AFC statement read: "Although the AFC had proposed on May 8 that the match which was already postponed from March 28 to take place in the DPR Korea capital, recent developments have forced the AFC to reconsider the decision on the grounds of safety and security.
"The AFC will monitor closely the safety and security position in coming months, as well as the AFC Cup match between Kigwacha SC (DPR Korea) and Erchim FC (Mongolia) to be played on May 31, as well as the AFC U23 Championship qualifiers, Group G, to be hosted in Pyongyang from July 19-23."
The AFC added that it will make a decision in late July on whether Pyongyang would remain as the venue for the Oct. 5 qualifier.
The postponement comes just a week after Football of Malaysia (FAM) president, the Crown Prince of Johor (TMJ), expressed his concern about travelling to the Republic, due to potential sabotage affecting the squad.
Asian football's governing body had first postponed the Group B game on March 28 due to strained diplomatic ties between the two nations after the death of the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Feb. 13.
The decision will give new Malaysia national coach Nelo Vingada, who was appointed on Monday, more time to get to know his players.
It means that Malaysia's home qualifier against Lebanon on June 13, played at Johor's Larkin Stadium, will be the Portuguese's first competitive game in charge.
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