Those involved in Saturday’s Malaysia Cup final have been given extra days off before reporting for national training on Tuesday, including Perak’s Brendan Gan who requested ëxtra days” to attend some family matters in Australia.
National football coach Tan Cheng Hoe is not perturbed with the “late reporting” as he prepares the team for the Tier 1 international friendly against Tajikistan on Nov 9 followed by the World Cup 2022/Asia Cup 2023 Group G matches against Thailand (Nov 14) and Indonesia on Nov 19. All matches will be played at the National Stadium, Bukit Jalil.
Despite Thailand’s 2-1 win over group favorites the United Arab Emirates in Bangkok, Cheng Hoe is keeping his cool for “important and vital” home matches against the Thais and the Indonesians to stay alive in the qualifiers.
Thailand leads the group with seven points from three matches with AFF Suzuki Cup champions Vietnam on goal difference while the UAE is third on six followed by Malaysia on three. Indonesia, with four defeats from four matches, is at the bottom without a point to show.
Ëxcept for Brendan the rest of the players reported for training on Sunday. Those who were involved in the Malaysia Cup final were given an extra day off will report on Tuesday,” said Cheng Hoe after a training session at Wisma FAM on Monday.
Cheng Hoe is keeping his fingers crossed that Johor Darul Takzim’s Safawi Rasid and Syafiq Ahmad and Afiq Fazail will keep their “momentum and rich form” for the qualifiers.
Before playing Thailand and Indonesia, Cheng Hoe will try out his match strategies against Tajikistan. Afiq and Kedah skipper Baddrol Bakhtiar were named by Cheng Hoe after their impressive form for their respective teams in the recently concluded Malaysia Cup.
JDT beat Kedah 3-0 in the final to regain the Malaysia Cup with Safawi picking up the man of the match in the final apart from being the competition’s top scorer with 11 goals. – BY RIZAL ABDULLAH