HARIMAU MALAYA will have a lot to work on when they return from their Japanese Tour later this week.
Their prime focus would be on improving the potency upfront and finding a way to plaster the leaking defence.
During their time in Japan, Malaysia failed to score a single goal in their three friendly matches against J-League sides. In return, the Malaysian goal was breached a disappointing 12 times.
The latest, another 5-0 loss. This time to Tokyo Verdy, who are a Division 2 side. Datuk K. Rajagobal’s men had lost to Division 1 outfits Shimizu S-Pulse and Shonan Bellmare, 2-0 and 5-0 respectively over the last one week.
Verdy and Shimizu are average-placed in their respective leagues while Bellmare have been relegated to Div 2.
However, it must also be noted that the standards of football in Japan are moonlights away from Malaysia, at least on the Asian stage. That said, Malaysia must still work on their attack first and then the defence. After all, the best form of defence is attack.
Rajagobal has been under constant criticism of late, with some even leading calls for him to step aside. Such move is unlikely to make a difference, as Malaysia do not have a proper footballing foundation, to provide a solid ground for a new coach.
Replace him with a new coach and it would be the same story all over again in a few years.
However, Rajagobal and his players must buck-up if they are any serious about their ambitions of reaching the 2015 Asia Cup in Australia. Malaysia play Bahrain in two group matches in October and November, and these matches could seal Rajagobal’s fate if positive results are not achieved.
In total, Malaysia have played five friendly matches thus far with an embarrassing goals for and goals against statistics. Fadhli Shas’ header against Chelsea was the sole time the ‘toothless tigers’ found the back of the net, whilst letting in a whopping 16 goals.
Malaysia did however, show glimpses of promise in the 4-1 loss against a second-geared Chelsea at the Shah Alam Stadium on July 21.
Few days priors to that match, they failed to find the back of the net despite camping in the opponents’ half in the second period against Thai club Chonburi FC. The match finished scoreless.
The Malayan Tigers return on Saturday and will play La Liga winners Barcelona in an exhibition match at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil on Aug 10.
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