SEPANG, Aug 13 (Bernama) -- The national women's football squad will be banking on the 4-3-3 formation to achieve its semifinal target at the 2019 AFF Women’s Football Championship in Chonburi, Thailand from Aug 15 to 27.
This will be a new tactical strategy be employed by head coach Jacob Joseph who has opted for an attacking approach to his squad's game, compared to the 4-4-2 defensive set up preferred before.
With six of the 23-member squad coming from the Under 19 team, Jacob was optimistic his charges would be able to provide stiff competition in the group stage and qualify for the last four.
“The players are now using the 4-3-3 formation that brings about more dynamic play to pressure the opponents in their half, and this will be our main weapon.
“I am confident this final squad, after their intensive training in Lumut, will adapt well to the 4-3-3 formation and win their games to qualify for the semifinals,” he said when met at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) before the squad flew out to Thailand today.
Malaysia will kick off their Group A campaign against Philippines on Aug 15, Singapore (Aug 19) and Timor Leste (Aug 21) before completing the preliminary round against defending SEA Games gold medallist Thailand two days later.
The semifinal berth is deemed important for Jacob's charges to gauge their performance and further prepare for the 2019 Philippines SEA Games in November.
The aim is to garner full points for the first three games, and share the spoils in their last match against Thailand, Jacob said.
“Thailand are the favourites in our group, and we have prepared ourselves to play for at least a draw. A point against them will be a bonus for us.
“We first have to get past the Philippines, who have many mixed parentage players from the United States. Based on my players commitment in training, I am confident of a win against them (the Philippines). This is also based on our observation and evaluation of their squad in the last six months,” he said.