National football coach Tan Cheng Hoe does not foresee an easy path in the second round qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022/AFC Asian Cup China 2023 when the draw was made in Bukit Jalil on Wednesday.
The luck of the draw saw Asean nations Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia in the same Group G together with Middle East giants the United Arab Emirates.
“This is the luck of the draw. No one expected the Asean nations in the same group but here we are with Asean rivals Vietnam and Thailand. It stops at that.
“This the World Cup and Asian Cup qualifiers and every country want to make to play in the Finals of both tournaments. On paper, UAE is the strongest but teams like Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia have their missions.
“All will be well prepared. As for Malaysia, we have cleared the first hurdle (beat Timor Leste in the two-leg playoffs in the first round) and now we want to take our game to a higher level,” said Cheng Hoe when contacted on Wednesday.
Cheng Hoe gave broad hints that he will beef up his training squad but has left his options open for the time being.
Malaysia opens its campaign with an away match against Indonesia on Sept 5 followed by a home match against UAE on Sept 10 and Vietnam (away) on October 10 before facing Thailand at home on Oct 15. – BY RIZAL ABDULLAH