Indonesia ban threat hangs over Selangor imports Dimas and Ilham

Selangor FA president Datuk Seri Subahan Kamal insists Indonesian stars Evan Dimas and Ilham Armaiyn will join the club, despite the threat of a ban from the Indonesia Football Association (PSSI).

PSSI president Edy Rahmayadi suggested that the pair would not be allowed to play in the Malaysia Super League (MSL,) due to fears that they would not be released for the 2018 Asian Games in August.

The continental showpiece is hosted by Indonesia this year, but the football competition is not an official FIFA tournament, so clubs are not required to release players.

But Subahan believes there has simply been a misunderstanding over the affair and that the two new signings will soon report for duty, with their arrivals having originally been expected last month after they signed in early December.

Bismillah 😇😇🙏🏻🙏🏻

A post shared by Evan Dimas Darmono (@evhandimas) on

"I will meet PSSI president Edy in Jakarta soon," Subahan told The New Straits Times. "I am confident that Evan and Ilham will report to Selangor by the end of the week.

"We have written to PSSI and we have also been in constant contact with their officials. PSSI have been accommodative. I think there was a confusion over the players' availability for the Asian Games. Edy fears we would not release them for the event.

"In our letter to PSSI, we gave them our word that Evan and Ilham will be released for international competitions and training according to respective calendars.

"Both have signed official contracts with us and we have paid them an advance. Selangor want their services as they are among the best players in this region. There is no way that they would not report to Selangor."

The 2015 Malaysia Cup champions are hopeful of an improved campaign in 2017 after the return to Shah Alam of veteran national forward Amri Yahyah.

The addition of midfielder Dimas and striker Ilham will come as a huge boost for the Red Giants. They were key players in the the Bhayangkara squad that lifted Indonesia's Liga 1 title in 2017.

Their signings came as the MSL opened a squad place for players from Southeast Asia.

Rahmayadi had previously criticised the move as "unpatriotic" before suggesting a ban on Indonesian players moving overseas. But Asian Football Association (AFC) Secretary General, Datuk Windsor Paul John last week made it clear that any such ban would lead to action from the AFC.

"If it [a ban on players moving abroad] becomes a rule, then AFC need to look and see what is really meant and if it is against FIFA's and AFC regulations, then we can commence investigations because players are free to play for just about any club in any country." Windsor told The New Straits Times.