The national Under-23 squad will focus on international friendlies as their final preparation for the Sea Games in Laos from Dec 9 to 18.
Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) secretary-general Datuk Azzuddin Ahmad said the squad was not participating in any championship in the next three months.
"It is a request from national coach K. Rajagobal following a discussion with the technical committee, not to expose the squad's strength by participating in the pre-Sea Games championship in Laos next month," he told Bernama, here, today.
He said another reason was the spread of Influenza A(H1N1), which had also forced the cancellation of some planned competitions like the Merdeka Tournament and Inter-Continental Cup.
"If possible, we want to give our squad good exposure by participating in competitions but we have to consider the current situation."
Since Rajagobal took over as national coach in April, neither the Under-23 squad or national senior squad had participated in any competition except in friendly matches.
Azzuddin, however, said the friendly matches had prepared the squad for the Sea Games.
The last time Malaysia won a gold in football in the Sea Games was in 1989.
"Rajagobal should be given the time and space to develop a strong squad. As such, we do not want to set a target for him in Laos," he said.
On the national squad's 1-2 defeat to Saudi Arabia in a match in Riyadh Monday, Azzuddin said the result showed a narrowing deficit.
"Though we are at 152 in ranking compared to Saudi Arabia who are at 64, the result could be used to measure our strength. After all, the match was a last warm-up for the host before meeting Bahrain in the World Cup 2010 qualifying round," he said.
The national Under-23 squad will have another friendly match with Al-Qadisyah Club of Saudi Arabia early tomorrow morning before leaving for Jordan to meet the Jordanian national squad this Saturday -BERNAMA