Malaysia lower target for U23 Asian Cup

By Hoang An   May 30, 2022 | 12:03 am PT
Malaysia lower target for U23 Asian Cup
The members of the U23 Malaysia team at the Kuala Lumpur Airport on May 29, 2022. Photo by Football Association of Malaysia
Initially aiming for a top-four finish at U23 Asian Cup, Malaysia now only seek experience after being grouped with Vietnam, Thailand, and South Korea.

"We initially set the goal to finish in the top four, but now I want to change it. This tournament will be a chance for us to accumulate more experience by playing the strong teams in Asia.

"It's not that the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) lacks ambition. Our goal is to measure the true ability of each player. We have to set a realistic goal. We don't want to put pressure on the players, but hopefully, they can show their best," FAM General Secretary Mohd Saifuddin Abu Bakar said.

This is only Malaysia's second time at U23 Asian Cup. In the qualifiers, they topped group J, above Thailand, Laos and Mongolia. The draw brought them into group C with Vietnam, Thailand and South Korea in the main tournament. The team confidently targeted a top-four finish at first. But after Malaysia lost to Vietnam and Indonesia in the semifinals and bronze medal playoff of SEA Games 31, FAM decided to shift the target.

Malaysia coach Brad Maloney will also bring the whole team from SEA Games 31 to U23 Asian Cup, adding three more players. The team will play South Korea on June 2, Thailand on the 5th and Vietnam three days later.

2022 U23 Asian Cup will be hosted from June 1 to 19 in Uzbekistan. Sixteen teams are divided into four groups. The top two of each group will qualify for the quarterfinals.

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