Fixtures

AFF Cup 11/23 10:00 1 Cambodia vs Malaysia - View
AFF Cup 11/29 10:00 3 Thailand vs Malaysia - View
AFF Cup 12/06 10:00 5 Malaysia vs Singapore - View

Results

Asia - World Cup Qualifying 06/11 13:00 6 [3] Malaysia v Chinese Taipei [4] W 3-1
Asia - World Cup Qualifying 06/06 15:00 5 [2] Kyrgyzstan v Malaysia [3] D 1-1
Asia - World Cup Qualifying 03/26 14:00 4 [3] Malaysia v Oman [1] L 0-2
Asia - World Cup Qualifying 03/21 18:00 3 [3] Oman v Malaysia [2] L 2-0
AFC Asian Cup 01/25 11:30 3 [2] South Korea v Malaysia [4] D 3-3
AFC Asian Cup 01/20 14:30 2 [3] Bahrain v Malaysia [4] L 1-0
AFC Asian Cup 01/15 17:30 1 [2] Malaysia v Jordan [2] L 0-4
International Match 01/08 17:30 - Syria v Malaysia D 2-2
Asia - World Cup Qualifying 11/21 11:00 2 [4] Chinese Taipei v Malaysia [2] W 0-1
Asia - World Cup Qualifying 11/16 13:00 1 Malaysia v Kyrgyzstan W 4-3
International Match 10/17 13:00 - Malaysia v Tajikistan L 0-2
International Match 10/13 13:00 - Malaysia v India W 4-2

Stats

 TotalHomeAway
Matches played 15 7 8
Wins 5 4 1
Draws 5 0 5
Losses 5 3 2
Goals for 31 21 10
Goals against 26 14 12
Clean sheets 2 1 1
Failed to score 5 3 2

The Malaysia national football team (Malay: Pasukan bola sepak kebangsaan Malaysia) represents Malaysia in international football and is governed by the Football Association of Malaysia. The national team is recognised by FIFA as the successor of the defunct Malaya national football team which was founded for the 1963 Merdeka Tournament one month before the institution of Malaysia. The team is officially nicknamed Harimau Malaya in reference to the Malayan Tiger. Former player Mokhtar Dahari is one of the top goal scorers in international history.

Whilst part of a group of four teams (the other three being Singapore, Vietnam and Thailand) of Southeast Asia who have each won the AFF Championship at least once, Malaysia has however failed to achieve major success outside their region other than a bronze won at the Asian Games in 1974. They have participated in the Summer Olympics once and four AFC Asian Cups.

History

Early years (1963–1969)

The winner of the second season of Merdeka Cup in 1958, Malaya football team, five years before the merger to form Malaysia. Also in the picture is Tunku Abdul Rahman (centre), the first Prime Minister of Malaya and at that time president of Football Association of Malaya & Asian Football Confederation.

Prior to 16 September 1963, North Borneo (now Sabah), Sarawak, Malaya and Singapore were represented by their own national teams, a situation which pre-dated the establishment of Malaysia. Malaya and Singapore often competed in international competitions such as the Merdeka Tournament while North Borneo and Sarawak competed in Borneo Cup. Malaya's biggest achievement in football was becoming the bronze medalist of the 1962 Asian Games held in Jakarta, Indonesia after defeating South Vietnam 4–1 led by Abdul Ghani Minhat, who at that time was the first Asian player to reach 50 goals for the men's national teams.

The winner of the first season of Borneo Cup in 1962, North Borneo football team, one year before the merger to form Malaysia.

The beginning of the Malaysian football team match took place in Merdeka Stadium on 8 August 1963 with the combined strength of Singapore and Malaya (although the federation only existed after 16 September 1963). With the combined forces of Malaya and Singapore, the team began by facing Japan, and lost 3–4. The team continued to use a combination of players from Singapore and Malay Peninsula until the formation of the Malaysia team, wherein the Football Association of Malaya was succeeded by the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM). The combination players with Singapore ended when the latter separated from Malaysia along with the establishment of Football Association of Singapore (FAS) and their subsequent reaffiliation with FIFA in 1965. Since then the squad was only represented by West Malaysian players, mainly due to travel time difficulties to East Malaysia and the players were not well known to the mainstream West Malaysian football. From 1966 to 1970, Chow Chee Keong was voted by Asian Football Confederation as the best Asian's goalkeeper for 5 straight years.

Olympic Tournament and Asia Competition (1970–1980)

Malaysia vs. South Korea during the 1972 Summer Olympics qualifiers on 25 September 1971.

In 1971, James Wong of Sabah was the first player from East Malaysia to represent the country. Malaysia qualified for the 1972 Olympics in Munich, beating Japan 3–0, South Korea 1–0, Taiwan 3–0 and the Philippines 5–0 along the way. Although they managed to defeat the United States 3–0, they lost the other two matches with a score of 0–3 to West Germany and 0–6 to Morocco, ranking 10th in the final standings.

Malaysian goalkeeper Wong Kam Fook in action during the match against West Germany in the 1972 Summer Olympics at Munich on 27 August 1972.

Since 1972, Mokhtar Dahari has been considered a legendary football player for the Malaysian team maintaining his place as one of the best players in Asia. He manage to score a total of 125 goals in 167 appearances for Malaysia (including matches played against club sides, national 'B' teams and selection teams). Against other nations' national 'A' teams, he scored 89 goals in 142 appearances. This makes him as one of the world's top scorer for men's national teams at one time.

Together with the record of Soh Chin Ann. According to both RSSSF and IFFHS, Soh is the player with the most international caps in men's football and become the first men's footballers to reach 200 or more international caps (219). Two years later, Malaysia won their second bronze medal at the 1974 Asian Games after defeating North Korea 2–1. The team went on to qualify twice in a row for the AFC Asian Cup, in 1976 and 1980. It was only in 1977; when the FAM sent a talent scout to the East. The list continued by the late James Yaakub of Sarawak in 1977. The team also won the Merdeka Tournament four times, became runner-up three times and achieved third place twice during the 1970s. Malaysia qualified again for the 1980 Olympics in Moscow, beating Indonesia 6–1, South Korea 3–0, Brunei 3–1, Philippines 8–0 and tied with Japan 1–1. Thus, the team meet South Korea in the play-off match. Malaysia won the play-off against South Korea with a 2–1 scored in the Merdeka Stadium and qualified but joined the US-led boycott of the games as the Malaysian government made a decision to protest the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan.

1976 AFC Asian Cup Group A

Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
Kuwait 2 2 0 0 3 0 +3 4
China 2 0 1 1 1 2 –1 1
Malaysia 2 0 1 1 1 3 –2 1

Malaysia participated the 1976 AFC Asian Cup for the first time, meeting Kuwait and China in Group A. During the tournament, Malaysia came in third place in the group, losing 0–2 to Kuwait in the opening match and drew 1–1 with China in the second match.

1980 AFC Asian Cup Group B

Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
South Korea 4 3 1 0 10 2 +8 7
Kuwait 4 2 1 1 8 5 +3 5
Malaysia 4 1 2 1 5 5 0 4
Qatar 4 1 1 2 3 8 −5 3
United Arab Emirates 4 0 1 3 3 9 −6 1

Malaysia made its second Asian Cup appearance in 1980, placed in Group B alongside South Korea, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. They managed to hold South Korea 1–1 in the first match, but would lose 1–3 to Kuwait before regaining a 2–0 victory against the United Arab Emirates. Malaysia would eventually finish 3rd after holding Qatar 1–1 in their last match.

Falling performances and drought (1990–2009)

The Malaysian team (yellow) against New Zealand (white) during a friendly match in Queen Elizabeth II Park, Christchurch, New Zealand on 19 February 2006.

In 1994, Malaysian football was embroiled in one of the largest bribery scandals in the country. With the dearth of mainstream interest and lack of funds, Malaysian football has failed to repeat the performances of the 1970s and 1980s to qualify into major tournaments, despite the recruitment of Claude LeRoy. Allan Harris appointed as a new head coach in 2001. Harris came with strong credentials, having assisted Terry Venables at FC Barcelona. In the second half of 2004, FAM appoint Bertalan Bicskei, former Hungarian goalkeeper and national coach, to succeed Allan Harris. Bicskei led the national side to third place at the regional Tiger Cup tournament, but was demoted to youth development duties by FAM for his actions during a friendly against Singapore in Penang on 8 June 2005. Bicskei, disgusted by the standard of officiating, threw a bottle onto the pitch before confronting a Singapore player. In September 2005, his contract was terminated after a mutual agreement.

Norizan Bakar became the next head coach of the Malaysian team. He guided the Malaysian squad to the 2007 AFF Championship semifinals in 2007, where Malaysia lost through penalties to Singapore. Norizan's position as the head coach was criticised by the Malaysian football community, fans and officials alike, after the team's performances during the 2007 AFC Asian Cup as co-host of the edition, where Malaysia lost to China 1–5, Uzbekistan 0–5 and Iran 0–2. After the removal of Norizan Bakar, B. Sathianathan took over as head coach. Although he guided the squad to win the 2007 Merdeka Tournament, Malaysia once again failed to qualify for the World Cup after losing 1–4 and drawing 0–0 with Bahrain in the qualifying round. In March 2008, Sathianathan once again reach the final of the Merdeka Tournament. However, Malaysia lost on penalties to Vietnam. Sathianathan also led Malaysia to the semi-finals of the 2008 Myanmar Grand Royal Challenge Cup. However, Malaysia then shockingly lost 1–4 to eventual winners, Myanmar.

During the 2008 AFF Championship, Malaysia started their campaign with a 3–0 win over Laos, but were defeated in the second match by Vietnam with a score of 2–3 and were finally eliminated when they lost 0–3 to Thailand in the final match of the group stage. This was the first time that the Malaysian squad had not passed through the group stages in 12 years. There are also reports that match-fixing and bribery that infiltrate the Malaysian football in the 1994 are returned. In the 2011 Asian Cup qualifiers, the Malaysian team lost 0–5 to the United Arab Emirates. This defeat was the final straw in the eyes of Malaysian supporters, and in February 2009, the contracts of Sathianathan and manager Soh Chin Ann were terminated.

FA Premier League Asia Cup (2003)

In July 2003, Malaysia qualified for the 2003 FA Premier League Asia Cup as the host nation and as the only national team to ever do so, and on 24 July 2003, they lost 4–1 against Chelsea in the semi-finals in a match where Hairuddin Omar scored Malaysia's only goal of the tournament to bring the match to 1–1. In the third place playoff on 26 July 2003, they lost 4–0 against Birmingham City and placed fourth in the tournament.

AFF Championship triumph (2010)

In April 2009, K. Rajagopal was named the new coach of Malaysia replacing B. Sathianathan and took over the position in July 2009, of which he also looked after the Malaysia under-23 squad. Rajagopal's first match was against Zimbabwe, which Malaysia won 4–0. Rajagopal also coached Malaysia in two games against visiting English champions, Manchester United, losing both matches 2–3 and 0–2. During his time as the coach of the Under-23 team, Rajagopal led Malaysia to their fifth SEA Games gold medal and also led Malaysia to qualify for the second round of the 2010 Asian Games as one of the best four third-placed teams after a lapse of 32 years.

During the 2010 AFF Championship, a total of 14 Malaysia's players were under the age of 23. Placed in group A and lost the first match to host Indonesia 1–5, Malaysia bounced back from defeat drawing Thailand and beating Laos 5–1. As runner up of group, Malaysia qualified for the semi-finals to meet Group B winners and defending champions Vietnam. In the first leg of the semifinal, Malaysia won 2–0 on home soil and later drew 0–0 in the second leg, advancing to the final with an aggregate of 2–0. An opportunity of revenge opened up in the finals as Malaysia again met Indonesia, who were unbeaten in all previous matches.

On the first leg of the finals at home, Malaysia won 3–0. Malaysia scored twice through Safee Sali and once through Mohd Ashaari Shamsuddin on a night when Bukit Jalil National Stadium was filled over capacity for the first time since it was built. The match attracted so many people that after tickets were sold out, policemen manning the gates were seen allowing friends and relatives into the stadium, causing people having to trespass onto the cable bridge above the electronic display besides standing on the aisles and corridors to view the game. On the second leg of the finals that was held in Jakarta, Malaysia lost 1–2 to Indonesia but the final aggregate was 4–2 to Malaysia, thus Malaysia were awarded the title. It was the first time in history that Malaysia were crowned the champions of AFF Championship and a trophy in the international stage.

Stagnation (2011–2022)

Since the 2010s, the expectations of improved performances rose, but the team still failed to deliver any new high achievements or set new records. In June 2014, Dollah Salleh replaced Rajagobal as the head coach after his contract has ended. Dollah guided Malaysia to the final of the 2014 AFF Championship but failed to replicate the same form as the previous head coach. In the following international fixtures, the coach has also recorded 0–6 losses to Oman and Palestine as well as 1–1 draw against Timor-Leste. However, the 0–10 defeat to the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia's worst ever defeat in history, prompted his resignation as the head coach. The place was taken by interim coach Ong Kim Swee who was later promoted as the head coach until the end of March 2017. The official coaching post then was taken over by Portuguese coach Nelo Vingada in the hopes of raising the Malaysian football performances. On 13 June, Malaysia played their first match in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup qualification against Lebanon. Despite having a 1–0 lead during the first half, they eventually lost the match with a score 1–2. Malaysia's poor performance however, continued. Despite given high hopes and expectations from the match against Hong Kong, Malaysia only managed a 1–1 draw, before losing to the same team 0–2 in Hong Kong. As for the result, frustration happened in the team and Malaysia suffered two consecutive defeats against North Korea, with both matches ended 1–4. Malaysia also lost the second final match against Lebanon in Beirut by 1–2. With only 1 draw and 5 defeats, Malaysia was subsequently eliminated from the qualification. The coaching position was taken over by the team assistant coach Tan Cheng Hoe in late 2017 after Vingada stepped down following a string of poor results.

After failure to qualify for the 2019 AFC Asian Cup, Malaysia proceeded its journey in the 2018 AFF Championship and was grouped with rival Vietnam together with Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia. Malaysia won the second place with three wins and only one loss against Vietnam. By qualifying as group runners-up, Malaysia faced Thailand, the fierce rival in their long-time head-to-head records as well the reigning champions in the tournament, where they were able to overcome the latter by holding them 2–2 in Thailand's home stadium of Bangkok, winning the match by away goals rule in one of the tournament's greatest shock despite being tied 0–0 earlier at home. In the finals, they met Vietnam again and held the latter 2–2 at home before losing 0–1 in Vietnam's home ground of Hanoi, subsequently finishing the tournament with an aggregate of 2–3 as the runners-up for the third time in their AFF Cup history. Despite being unable to achieve the AFF Cup the second time, the enhancing performance of Malaysia was seen with the emergence of new talents coming from its youth football development which brought a hope in future.

Malaysia participated in 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification from the first round due to poor record previously, but with its first opponent facing Timor-Leste, Malaysia easily destroyed the Timorese 12–2 on aggregate. There, they joined the second round where the team was surprisingly grouped in a group containing three other Southeast Asian rivals Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam; alongside the United Arab Emirates. Malaysia opened their game with a 3–2 comeback victory over rival Indonesia in a match with full scandal and strong Anti-Malaysian sentiment among Indonesians. It was followed by an unlucky 1–2 home loss to the UAE, and to add the irony, Malaysia took the lead from early minute only to see itself being beaten at home. The next encounter was against rival Vietnam in Hanoi, which was the rematch of their 2018 AFF Championship match, ended with another Malaysian defeat as Malaysia fell to a 0–1 defeat. However, Malaysia has not been eliminated as the team can still get an opportunity to qualify further. Then, Malaysia managed one of the most famous victories in their FIFA World Cup campaign, beating neighbour and regional powerhouse Thailand 2–1 at home to keep its dream alive. Malaysia boosted its confidence with its victory over Thailand to overcome a demoralised Indonesia, also at home, 2–0, to occupy second spot behind Vietnam and above Thailand.

However, due to COVID-19 pandemic in 2021, Malaysia's performance heavily dropped. Prior to the last 3 matches of 2022 FIFA World Cup, many key players were affected, causing Tan Cheng Hoe to call up new players and veteran players. They lost 0–2 against Bahrain and 1–4 against Kuwait in a friendly match, before losing 0–4 to UAE, 1–2 against Vietnam but managed to win 1–0 against Thailand in World Cup qualification. Ultimately, they failed to advance to the final round. Following Malaysia's failure to qualify for the semi-finals of the 2020 AFF Championship in Singapore, Tan Cheng Hoe resigned as the head coach of Football Association of Malaysia.

Resurgence of Harimau Malaya (2022–present)

After Tan Cheng Hoe's resignation, South Korean Kim Pan-gon was appointed as Malaysia's new national team coach on a 2-year contract. His first task was the 2022 FAS Tri-Nations Series held in Singapore in March 2022. At that time, Pan Gon recorded his first success when Malaysia won 2–0 against Philippines but suffered a subsequent 1–2 loss to Singapore in the next match. Pan Gon's next challenge came when Malaysia faced Brunei and Hong Kong in a series of friendly matches as part of preparations for the 2023 AFC Asian Cup qualification. Malaysia won 4–0 against Brunei and 2–0 against Hong Kong, raising confidence and support from FAM and Malaysians in the hope of improving Malaysian football's fortunes which had declined in the previous years.

In the third round of 2023 AFC Asian Cup qualification, Malaysia faced 3 matches which began with a 3–1 victory against Turkmenistan in the first match, suffering a 1–2 lost to Bahrain, before successfully ending their campaign by defeating Bangladesh with 4–1. Thus, Malaysia finished second in Group E behind Bahrain and automatically qualified for the 2023 AFC Asian Cup on merit after 42 years. Shortly thereafter, Malaysia's FIFA ranking rose up to 147th from 154th in March 2022. Later in September 2022, Malaysia entered the 2022 King's Cup in Thailand, facing the host and later, Tajikistan in the final. Malaysia won 5–3 on penalties against Thailand after a 1–1 draw but later failed to win the cup after a 0–3 lost in the penalty shootout after being held to a goalless draw.

2023 AFC Asian Cup qualification – third round Group E

Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
Bahrain 3 3 0 0 5 1 +4 9 2023 AFC Asian Cup
Malaysia (H) 3 2 0 1 8 4 +4 6
Turkmenistan 3 1 0 2 3 5 −2 3
Bangladesh 3 0 0 3 2 8 −6 0

At the end of 2022, before the start of the 2022 AFC Championship campaign, Malaysia held 2 friendly matches against Cambodia and Maldives, winning 4–0 and 3–0 respectively. In the 2022 AFC Championship, Malaysia has won 1–0 against Myanmar with Syihan Hazmi saving a late penalty to secured the win for Malaysia. In the next match, Malaysia went on to thrash Laos 5–0 but lost 0–3 against Vietnam in a controversial match that led to Azam Azmi's red card. Yet, Malaysia has won 4–1 against causeway rivals, Singapore in the last match being the first time Malaysia had won over Singapore at home soil which also sees Malaysia finishing in second place of Group B, thus seeing them automatically qualified to semi-finals match against Thailand. Malaysia won the first leg of the match with Faisal Halim scoring the only goal in the match but in the second leg, Thailand scored twice which see Malaysia failing to enter the final after with a 3–1 aggregate defeat to Thailand. Malaysia ended the year 2022 with astonishing triumphs which see them rose up to 145th in FIFA ranking.

Later in March 2023, Malaysia has won again after defeating Turkmenistan with 1–0 and 2–0 against Hong Kong at the Sultan Ibrahim Stadium in Johor. In June 2023, Malaysia has won 4–1 against Solomon Island and yet has biggest victory ever when won 10–0 against Papua New Guinea at the Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin Stadium in Terengganu. Shortly after, Malaysia has rose up again to 137th in the world and 4th in ASEAN in the FIFA World Rankings behind the Philippines (135th), Thailand (113th) and Vietnam (95th), thus this latest ranking is the highest which Harimau Malaya has attained in 17 years.

In September 2023, Malaysia faced the biggest challenge ever when they met Syria and China in Chengdu, China. Malaysia passed the test after coming back from two goals down to manage a 2–2 draw with Syria and 1–1 with China respectively. In October 2023, the Merdeka Tournament was held after a 10-year absence, with Malaysia meeting India and Tajikistan. In the opening match, Malaysia won 4–2 against India in the semi final but later lost to Tajikistan again 0–2 in the final.

2023 AFC Asian Cup

After 42 years absence (excluding 2007, where Malaysia was one of the host), Malaysia going to the 2023 AFC Asian Cup with high expectation, as they were put in a group with Jordan, Bahrain, and South Korea. As part of the preparation of the tournament, Malaysia had a friendly match with Syria again with the same score as last year, 2–2 draw.

Malaysia opened their match of the tournament with a disastrous start, as they were beaten 0–4 by Jordan. In the second match against Bahrain, whom they met in the qualifiers, the match looked to be ending in a draw, until Ali Madan scored a last-minute goal for Bahrain. Thus, Malaysia had failed to advance past the group stages of an AFC Asian Cup again after four appearances, while they were also struggling to find their first Asian Cup win since their last win in 1980. Malaysia headed into their final group stage fixture against the favourites in the group, South Korea. Within the 21st minute, Malaysia were already 1–0 down through a Jeong Woo-yeong header, heading into the second half of the match on the back foot. However, in the second half, Faisal Halim scored with an audacious chip against South Korean goalkeeper Jo Hyeon-woo (which was nominated as goal of the tournament), followed up by a penalty slotted away by Arif Aiman to give Malaysia a surprising 2–1 lead against the Koreans. Eventually, a Lee Kang-in free-kick and a penalty from Son Heung-min put South Korea back in the lead. With the score 3–2 to the Koreans and the match surpassing the 90th minute mark, it looked to be three losses out of three for Harimau Malaya until the 90+15th added time, when Romel Morales scored an equaliser against all odds. The match ended as 3–3, securing a memorable draw, and Malaysia earned their first point since 1980.

The Malaysia national soccer team, also known as Harimau Malaya (Malayan Tigers), is the representative team of Malaysia in international soccer competitions. The team is governed by the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) and competes in various tournaments such as the AFC Asian Cup, AFF Championship, and FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

The Malaysia soccer team has a rich history in the sport, with notable achievements including winning the AFF Championship in 2010 and reaching the final of the same tournament in 2014. The team has also had success in regional competitions such as the Southeast Asian Games, where they have won multiple gold medals.

The team's colors are traditionally yellow and black, reflecting the national flag of Malaysia. The team's home matches are played at various stadiums across the country, with the Bukit Jalil National Stadium in Kuala Lumpur being a popular venue for international fixtures.

The Malaysia national soccer team is known for its passionate fan base and competitive spirit on the field. With a talented squad of players and dedicated coaching staff, the team continues to strive for success and represent the country with pride on the international stage.