KUALA LUMPUR, June 10 (Bernama) -- National football chief coach, Tan Cheng Hoe said an emphatic victory over Timor Leste tomorrow would be important to raise the world ranking and boost the confidence of Harimau Malaya, currently in the 168th spot in the world.
The 51-year-old coach who was not overly happy with the 7-1 win on Friday in the first round qualifier of the 2022 World Cup / 2023 Asian Cup, wants another decisive outcome in the return match at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil
“Ranking is very important for the draw in the second round, so I want my boys to go down to the pitch to obtain a positive result tomorrow. The match is important to enhance the confidence of the team in the subsequent rounds where we will meet stronger teams,” he said in a pre-match media conference today.
The former Kedah coach however, is still tight lipped over his line-up for tomorrow.
“As a coach, I want the players to keep the same focus and intensity in the return leg, going into the pitch with the same confidence, full of concentration and also play in the same way we played in the first leg. All players are eager and hunger to play and wear the Harimau Malaya jersey, so I need to find out the best 11 tomorrow, I do not want the players to feel the pressure and fear tomorrow,” he said.
He commended national prolific player Safawi Rasid for showing improvement with each match despite his young age.
Cheng Hoe said the 22-year-old winger cum forward who is hard-working, committed and humble to better his game, holds tremendous potential in future.
On injuries, Cheng Hoe would be missing Muhammad Syafiq Ahmad who picked up a media collateral ligament (MCL) tear in the first match while defender Dominic Tan and midfielder Syazwan Zainon who sustained light injuries would be in action tomorrow.
Meanwhile, top national defender, Matthew Davies admitted the current batch of Harimau Malaya players is the best ever line-up of the country.
“Been in the national team for four or five years and was part of the group for the last World Cup qualifiers, I think this is definitely one of the best teams we have in a while. It is very good, in the midfield we have a lot of young players, good for future and crucial for the team development.
“For the next game, we are relaxed and positive but at the same time we are still hungry to get another good results. I am still determined to build on from the last performance and overall it is a very relaxed group, hope to enjoy it,” said the 24-year-old player.