| PETALING JAYA (26 Sept 2009) – Malaysia will join Thailand and Vietnam in sending only their Under-19 squad to the pre-SEA Games which will be held in Vientiane early next month.
The Malaysians have cited that the reason why they are sending only their U19 team is because the U23 players will be involved in the on-going Malaysia Cup competition.
But the U19 squad will not be totally devoid of players from the U23 team where they will still have the services of six players and they are Ahmad Shakir Ali, K. Gurusamy, Fandi Othman, Muslim Ahmad, Mahali Jasuli and Faizal Muhammad.
“The U19 team will actually be taking part in two competitions where apart from the pre-SEA Games, they will also be in Vietnam for the Thanh Nien Newspaper U21 competition (starting on 9 October 2009),” said Ong Kim Swee, the head coach of the Malaysian U19 team.
“Out of the current squad of 29 players, we will only be bringing around 20 players to Vientiane.”
For the pre-SEA Games, only hosts Laos will feature their U23 team.
For the Thanh Nien Newspaper U21 championship, the Malaysians will be up against the U21 teams of Iran and China in Group B.
Group A are the U21 teams of hosts Vietnam, Thailand and Singapore.
The U19 Malaysian side are preparing for the AFC U19 qualifiers in November in China.
In the meantime, Vietnam have named a squad of 30 players in preparation for the pre-SEA Games in Laos.
The team will be handled by former Vietnam national midfielder Trieu Quang Ha, who has replaced Vo Hoang Buu as the head coach.
“We are still missing some players because they are playing in the national U21 tournament,” said Quang Ha, who will trim his squad to 20 players later this week.
“The young players have a lot of potential and are very good in some positions.”
“Our main goal is to qualify for Asian U19 championship, so the pre-Sea Games tournament is a very good chance for players because they will play against strong opponents.
“After the pre-Sea Games tournament, the coaches will have three weeks to come up with the style of playing and make adjustments for the AFC U19 qualifiers.”
For the U19 qualifiers, Vietnam are in the same group against South Korea, Thailand, Laos, Macau and Bangladesh where they will play all their matches in Bangkok in November.
PRE-SEA GAMES FIXTURES
2 Oct: Malaysia vs. Thailand; Laos vs. Vietnam
4 Oct: Vietnam vs. Malaysia; Thailand vs. Laos
6 Oct: Thailand vs. Vietnam; Laos vs. Malaysia