| PETALING JAYA (16 Jan 2009) – The several injuries to the squad is a concern for Malaysia head coach B. Sathianathan as he look towards a winning start to their AFC Asian Cup 2011 qualifying campaign against the United Arab Emirates (UAE) next week.
Malaysia will open their campaign in Group C of the qualifiers against the UAE at the Stadium KLFA in Cheras on 21 Jan 2009.
The other team in the group is Uzbekistan.
Among those on the injured list are captain Mohd Shukor Adan (knee), rightback Mohd Rosdi Talib (ankle) and keeper Syed Adney Syed Hassan.
“The situation with Shukor is quite worrying and I’m not sure if he can recover in time for the game against the UAE,” said Sathia.
“It is possible that I may have to change the tactical line-up due to this problem.”
In the meantime, Sathia is hoping that his Malaysian lads will be able to pull off a surprise against their better-ranked opponents.
UAE are ranked 114th while Malaysia are 158th and Uzbekistan 69th.
“Based on the world rankings, I have to admit that the UAE are better than us. But I think that it is not impossible for Malaysia to win the match especially when we are playing at home,” added Sathia.
The last time Malaysia played against the UAE was in a friendly in Petaling Jaya in which the team from the Middle East won 3-1.
And the last time Malaysia qualified for the main draw of the Asian Cup was back in 1976 in Iran and Kuwait four years later.
In 2007, Malaysia qualified automatically by virtue of being one of four hosts with the others being Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand.