YANGON – The Harimau Malaysia (national football squad) will “roar” for victory when facing joint hosts Myanmar in the final Group B match of the AFF Suzuki Cup at Thuwunna Stadium, here, tomorrow.
Speaking at the pre-match press conference today, National team head coach Datuk Ong Kim Swee said a victory against the ‘White Angels’ will certainly send them through to the semi-finals of the biennial football championship.
He, however, did not underestimate the strength of the home side who have showcased fast attacking display besides receiving rapturous support from the local crowds.
“Our players have played in packed stadiums back home in Malaysia but I believe that they can handle the situation nicely…Most importantly, we keep focused on what we need to do (during the match) beside thinking about what is going to happen outside the field,” he said.
The Melaka-born coach revealed that his side is still trying to adapt playing in the evening for the first time after having played the two previous matches in the afternoon under scorching heat.
For the record, Malaysia beat Cambodia 3-2 in the opening group match on Nov 20 before losing 0-1 to Group B winners Vietnam in the second group match, three days later.
“Our boys are not fully recovered after playing two matches at 3pm under the blazing heat within the space of six days but we have our own recovery process and a lot things we do during the process to stay fit,” Kim Swee added.
Sharing his sentiments was national vice-captain, Baddrol Bakhtiar who urged his teammates to give a commendable performance against Myanmar who only need a draw to advance to the semi-finals.
“We will be going all out when facing Myanmar despite high pressure playing before thousands of home fans and hopefully, our team will achieve a positive result,” said the Kedah midfielder.
Myanmar head coach Gerd Zeise, on the other hand, is wary of the major improvement shown by the national side after both sides shared the spoils in a scoreless draw in an international friendly match on May 28 at the same venue.
“I was also impressed to see Malaysia showcase a good performance against Vietnam in the second match on Wednesday and I expect it will be a tough game considering Malaysia desperately need a win to secure a place in the semi-finals,” the German said.
Echoeinf Zeise’s views was team captain Yan Aung Kyaw who is seeking another victory after defeating Cambodia 3-1 in the second group match on Wednesday.
“Certainly we want to claim a victory before thousands of our supporters though we only need a draw to advance to the semi-finals,” said the Yangon United FC midfielder.
Both teams share three points after playing two matches but Myanmar have the upper hand in the table standings based on a better goal advantage and therefore, Malaysia do not have any other way than winning tomorrow’s match to secure a place in the semi-finals.
Another Group B encounter tomorrow sees group winners Vietnam, who have already claimed a place in the semi-finals, meet Cambodia at Wunna Theikdi Stadium in Naypyitaw. – BERNAMA