| PETALING JAYA (3 Oct 2008) – The next big step for Malaysia in their preparation for the AFF Suzuki Cup 2008 would be for them to retain the Merdeka Tournament they won last year.
Kuala Lumpur will once again play host to one of Asia’s long-running football championship the Merdeka Tournament from 15-26 Oct 2008.
Malaysia head coach B. Sathianathan said that the lessons learned from their recent trip to Slovakia will be put to good use when they open their campaign in the Merdeka Meet.
For the record, Malaysia played a total of four matches in Slovakia where they drew once and lost three games.
“It was not an overly good performance obviously but coupled with the absence of several players and also it being a fasting month, the lads put up quite a show while they are on Tour,” said Sathianathan, whose team begin training at the Wisma FAM today.
“We played some hard matches and I can draw some conclusions from it. When we field our first 11, we can match those teams we played against but once we make changes, the team changed.
“So, with the addition of the several players who were left behind (from Kedah and Perak who were involved in the AFC Cup), I think that we should be able to mould a strong team for the Merdeka Tournament and also for the AFF Suzuki Cup later.”
Apart from hosts Malaysia, the other teams taking part in the Merdeka Tournament this year are the Vietnam Olympic squad, Myanmar, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan and possibly Kazakhstan.
The champion of the Merdeka Tournament 2008 will stand to win USD 10,000 prize while the runners-up will walk away with USD 5,000.
”We hope to arrange for one friendly match on 10 Oct which should act as the final preparation in confirming the starting eleven and also the rest of the players in the squad,” added Sathianathan.