Test of character, ability, match strategies, and right combination awaits the national football squad in Saturday’s A international friendly against Jordan at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil.
The match to be played on the eve of 62nd Merdeka Day celebrations will not only give national chief coach Tan Cheng Hoe an inkling of who will carry the nation’s challenge when Malaysia face bitter rivals Indonesia in the opening Group G match in the 2022 World Cup/2023 Asian Cup second round qualifier at the famous Gelora Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta on Sept 5.
“Playing against Jordan (ranked 99) will be a big test of nerves and character for our players,” said Cheng Hoe in a pre-match press conference.
“Jordan comes with strong credentials and on paper, their football standard is higher than us. But it stops at that…it is left to us to raise our game and be focused on winning the match against the Jordanians.
“We have to go in with a positive attitude and be fully focused on winning. This is an ‘A’ international and a positive result will also improve our Fifa rankings (Malaysia is ranked 159).
“The match against Jordan will give us the opportunity to showcase our brand of football. Jordan plays a similar type of football to the UAE (the United Arab Emirates).”
On the personal front, the match against Jordan brings memories to Cheng Hoe when Malaysia held Jordan to a scoreless draw in Jordan. He was then the assistant coach to Datuk K. Rajagobal – that was 10 years ago.
Apart from Indonesia, Malaysia’s other opponents in Group G are Vietnam, Thailand and the UAE.
Jordan will face Chinese Taipei in Taipei also on Sept 5 in a Group B match. – BY RIZAL ABDULLAH