KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 8 -- Tajikistan head coach Usmon Toshev has been following the Malaysian national team’s progress for quite a while ahead of his team’s clash with Harimau Malaya in a Tier 1 international friendly at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil tomorrow. And he is quite impressed.
Toshev, 64, a former Uzbekistan professional midfielder, said the Malaysian team under Tan Cheng Hoe have shown good progress and are able to trouble opponents with their fast playing style.
He believes Malaysia, ranked 158th in the world, has a chance to book its place in the final round of the championship although they have had a difficult journey so far in the 2022 World Cup/2023 Asian Cup Joint Qualifiers campaign.
"I've followed all the matches and have been in Malaysia many times...I can see the development of the Malaysian team. In the match of Malaysia and Vietnam, I could see how the development has turned the players to what they have become. From what I saw, Malaysia is a very fast team.
"From what I've seen, Malaysia has a very strong team and they have the chance to get to the championship," he told reporters at the pre-match press conference at National Stadium in Bukit Jalil here today.
He is preparing Tajikistan, the world ranked 116th, for their third match of the Group F competition of the qualifying campaign, against Myanmar on Nov 14 after having defeated higher-ranked Kyrgyzstan 1-0 and Mongolia 1-0.
"It is a very important game for us and I expect an interesting match tomorrow.
"Before we take on Myanmar I want to see the condition of our players and the way they play. I want them to get used to the weather as the condition is quite the same here with Myanmar.
Meanwhile, Tajikistan captain Nazarov Akhtam is looking forward to tomorrow's match as he wants to see the progress of his team before the tie against Myanmar in Mandalay.
"We've been preparing very well and working hard in training to put up a good display for the fans in upcoming matches. I also want to see the strong and weak sides of my team," he said.