The national junior squad needs much more exposure in order to be a potent force. This was the observation of coach Nor Saiful Zaini Nasiruddin after watching his team go down 2-0 to Great Britain in a friendly match on Wednesday night.
Malaysia are repairing for the 9th edition of the Sultan of Johor Cup which gets underway this Saturday. Besides Malaysia and Great Britain, the other teams are Australia, India, Japan and New Zealand
“ Our lock of exposure in terms of matches at the international level was clearly visible,” admitted Saiful. Though we could match them in terms of skill, their understanding as well as cohesion was at a different level.
“ Physically they are much stronger and bigger and they translate this into an uncanny ability to hold on to possession. My players will need to play more such matches in order to improve.”
Saiful said that playing in the tournament would give his players an opportunity to gain valuable experience as the teams are from Asia. Oceania and Europe.
“ We need to play matches against countries that adopt a different playing style in order to improve,” said the former national skipper.
“ We made some crucial mistakes such as losing the ball easily and not clearing the ball in a correct manner, Though we created chances, it was few and Britain were clinical in their finishing.”
Saiful feels that his team will have it tough in the week Long tournament and believes that they are within sight of a podium finish,
“ The players are determined to put in a good performance and make up for their lack of exposure through hard running on the pitch,” said Saiful.
“ We are looking forward to our first match against India and we will study our opponents through some videos we managed to secure.”