KUALA LUMPUR - Johor crown prince Tunku Ismail Ibrahim has defended himself for remarking that Malaysia is "not my country" after the national football team's 0-2 loss to Hong Kong in an Asian Cup qualifier.
Tunku Ismail, who is president of the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM), said he made the comment in jest, Malay Mail reported on Friday (Oct 13).
Malay media including Utusan Malaysia and Kosmo! had described the prince as distancing himself from the national football team after its shock defeat to Hong Kong on Tuesday, in which team captain Safiq Rahim was also sent off.
"That's your country's team, not my country. I'm from Johor, you know," the prince was quoted as saying during a media session in Johor Baru which was broadcast live on Facebook.
On Friday Tunku Ismail slammed Malay dailies for reporting his comment as "cheap gossip", reported the Malay Mail.
"After a dialogue of more than an hour regarding football and current issues, only the joke in my last 20 seconds of my dialogue is trending now," the prince said in a statement posted online.