PETALING JAYA: Despite being aware of the high hopes for the national football squad qualifying for the Asian Cup 2023, chief coach Tan Cheng Hoe (pix) does not want to be labeled as a coach who is always giving excuses for losing.
Malaysia has the chance of returning to the right track towards the target when hosting Thailand and Indonesia in two crucial Group G matches in the second Qualifying round for the World Cup 2022 /Asian Cup 2023 this month.
Victories against the two teams would rekindle the hopes of Harimau Malaya and soothe the disappointment of fans over the two defeats suffered by the national squad in the first three earlier games.
Malaysia lost 1-2 to United Arab Emirates (UAE) at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil before yielding 0-1 to Vietnam in Hanoi which once again led local supporters to question the effectiveness of the country’s frontline.
Cheng Hoe stressed that the players in the current national squad are the best batch of players.
“On the overall, we played well but we did not win. The leading players now are still young and are relevant to the team. But we have to monitor and make changes if necessary.
“As the coach, I am still positive as we have to find the best option for the team. I do not want to give excuses but as the coach, it is my duty to find the best combination for the best results,” he said when met by reporters at a training session at Wisma FAM yesterday.
At the same time, Cheng Hoe said only the confidence of the players themselves apart from fans could push the team to give their best performance.
Malaysia will be facing Tajikistan in a Tier 1 international friendly at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil before hosting Thailand (Nov 14) and Indonesia on Nov 19 for the qualifiers at the same venue.
After three second round qualifiers matches, Thailand are at the top of Group G despite sharing seven points with Vietnam while Malaysia are in the fourth place with three points. — Bernama