Vietnam less powerful without overage players: Malaysia defender

By Hoang An   June 1, 2022 | 12:11 am PT
Vietnam less powerful without overage players: Malaysia defender
Coach Brad Maloney (in black) talks to Malaysia players in a training session in Uzbekistan on May 30, 2022. Photo by Football Association of Malaysia
Defender Harith Haiqal believes Malaysia have a great chance to pass the U23 Asian Cup group stage since Vietnam and Thailand don't have overage players like at SEA Games 31.

"The problem with Malaysia players is not communication, it's the defense. If we can improve this, our result in U23 Asian Cup will be different. While in SEA Games 31, Vietnam and Thailand called up three overage players each, Malaysia didn't. It's different in this tournament," Haiqal told Malaysian newspaper Arena Metro.

Malaysia didn't use overage players in SEA Games, as they wanted to prepare for the U23 Asian Cup. Despite the disadvantage, the team still reached the semifinals where they lost 0-1 to Vietnam in extra time. Vietnam won the gold medal in SEA Games last month with a 1-0 victory over Thailand in the final.

Midfielder and captain Mukhairi Ajmal also believes that Malaysia will pass the group stage. He told Malaysia's daily newspaper Sinar Harian: "Malaysia's preparation is much better than that of the 31st SEA Games, because we will use the same young squad. The current situation shows that we are capable of getting past the group stage. The important thing is we need to give our best in every game."

Malaysia will play South Korea on June 2 before facing the other two opponents in group C, meaning Thailand and Vietnam.

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