Adam stays positive despite tough challenges that await Malaysia U23 in China

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The 21-year-old is not giving up the fight despite Malaysia going into the AFC U23 Championships as clear underdogs.

Still over five weeks to go before Malaysia take on Iraq in the 2018 AFC Under-23 Championship in China but the battle cry has already been sung.

Malaysia have not been given an easy ride as Saudi Arabia, Iran and Jordan are all in Group C competing for the top two spots for a place in the knockout stage.

Despite the odds stacking heavily against Malaysia grabbing one of the two spots out of the group, centre back Adam Nor Azlin is adamant that the team will not be thinking of an early exit even before they set foot in China.

"With the group that we have, it's tough. We've played against middle east teams like Jordan last year and it was tough. But it is not impossible for Malaysia. Maybe they will look down on our capabilities and that is what we need to exploit. On paper, it might not look like we can win but we'll need to rise to the challenge and prove ourselves." 

"We need the support even though the team may look weaker in terms of our game as well as our physicality when compared to those teams. We need to stay positive. We cannot go accepting defeat before going there. We'll fight to the end over there as we're not going there just to fill the tournament," Adam told Goal.

Preparations has started for Datuk Ong Kim Swee and his boys last week with fitness becoming a priority as the domestic season ended in early November. 

Adam himself was part of four other players that earned a place in the senior Malaysia national team that lost successive matches to DPR Korea a couple of weeks back.

The new Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) man started and finished the second match against the physically stronger Koreans and it was a new-found exposure which he intends to put into good use when Malaysia kick-off against Iraq on January 10.

"The experience earned with the senior team gave me valuable lessons how to be a leader and to play at a higher tempo. Not just me, but there are others who are also here that can use the experience we gained there for the tournament," added Adam.

The opening match of Group C for Malaysia will be played against iraq on January 10 at 4pm Malaysian time.

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