BY OOI KIN FAI Follow on Twitter
Malaysia U-22 team suffered a heavy 0-3 defeat to Vietnam U-22 in a international friendly match played on Tuesday evening in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam. Playing at the Thong Nhat Stadium, Frank Bernhardt's team were outplayed by the home side with goals from Ho Tuan Tai, Nguyen Cong Phuong and Nguyen Van Toan.
Speaking after the match, the German Bernhardt admitted that Vietnam were the better side but was angry that his plans went out the window very early on in the match.
"I think that Vietnam was much better than us. They were faster and more precise with their passing. We had a little bit of problem with speed at the beginning after 37 seconds already 1-0, so the system already a problem if you go behind. Vietnam deserve to win the game," said Bernhardt.
The 47-year-old coach lamented on the inavailability of players that caused the team a heavy defeat. While not certain to win, Bernhardt was adamant that if he had the players of his choice available, the scoreline would have been much closer.
"We are missing 6 players who would be first choice today. Either the clubs don't release or they are injured. I had to replace them and this is not easy to have 19 year old guys and they bring directly in their first match that they play, the quality that we need."
"That is not a problem with one federation, it's a general problem when the league is running. There are different reasons and this was also the situation why I couldn't get more than 18 players together. It's really a difficulty for me to get the players that we need to compete in a better way.
"For sure we need preparation time for the tournament. We need also all players that can cover all positions. Today we had two midfielders in defence and we can see today that doesn't work. There are a lot of things that didn't work today and it's not something that we can fix in a day or week," explained Bernhardt.
If Malaysia harbour any hope to win the SEA Games gold medal in the football event, Bernhardt wants all the help he can get in terms of working with the players. The German has repeatedly send out the same message but his cries have fallen on deaf ears.
"It is not a shock. It's a clear picture that our fitness level are not what is needed for international matches. It is also a problem that we can't gather them before the match. Some came after their league matches while some met us at the airport itself. This is not the perfect preparation for an international match," added Bernhardt.