Harimau Malaya is aware of the serious threat posed by winless Indonesia in Tuesday’s Group G match in the World Cup 2022/Asia Cup 2023 qualifier at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil.
Indonesia has lost all four matches so far and sacked their Scottish coach Simon McMenemy and replaced him with his assistant Yeyen Tumena for the match against Malaysia.
The Garuda team is also serious about turning around their football fortunes after the disastrous start and has dropped some players and brought in new faces. At the same time, Indonesia arrived in Kuala Lumpur on Nov 12 and played some friendly matches to show their seriousness.
With this in mind, National football coach Tan Cheng Hoe, who will be without the suspended Syafiq Ahmad (striker) and Matthew Davies (right back), is keeping his options open before naming his team.
Veteran Norshahrul Idlan Talaha is expected to take over the hitman’s job but Cheng Hoe is also considering naturalized Malaysian – Gambia-born Mohamadou Sumareh, Akhyar Rashid and Safawi Rashid as alternatives.
“The fact Indonesia has come to KL so much earlier shows their seriousness for the match against Malaysia. They have a new coach and some new players on the team…this could pose a new challenge for us.
“I am also aware that our opponents watched us beat Thailand 2-1. We cannot ride on the Thailand win but instead face Indonesia fully focused in search of another win,” said Cheng Hoe, adding that the National Stadium has been a source of “inspiration” for Malaysia.
Indonesia is at the bottom of the group without a point to show after four matches – losing 2-3 to Malaysia, 0-3 to Thailand, 0-5 to the United Arab Emirates and 1-3 to Vietnam.
Malaysia has six points after four matches derived from a 3-2 (away) win over Indonesia and 2-1 over Thailand (home). Harimau Malaya lost 1-2 to the UAE at home and 1-0 to Vietnam (away).
The UAE is also on six points but has a superior goal difference. Vietnam is on top with 10 points while Thailand is second with seven points.
– BY RIZAL ABDULLAH