BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
Although Malaysia U-16 managed to defeat India U-16 3-0 in their earlier friendly match on Monday, the repeat fixture on Thursday at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium ended in a 2-1 victory for the visitors.
In the latest match, Danu Rohit opened the scoring in the 21st minute from the spot kick, before Moirangthem Givson Singh doubled the Colts' lead 10 minutes later. Although the Young Tigers' key players came on early in the second half, they weren't able to produce the possession and short pass football that they are known for, and only in the fourth minute of the injury time that Danial Amali was able to pull one back for the home side.
The result capped off an uneven series of friendly matches for head coach and National Football Development Programme (NFDP) director Lim Teong Kim's charges in July.
They recorded a 4-3 win over Indonesia U-16 on July 6, before losing back to back to Korea Republic U-16 (2-0, 4-0) on July 11 and 17, and bouncing back by edging Cambodia U-16 4-0 on July 20.
While acknowledging that his side did not play well in the defeat to India, Teong Kim appeared unfazed over the results when met by the press, who inquired about his preparations ahead of the 2018 AFF U-16 Championship, and the 2018 AFC U-16 Championship, with Malaysia hosting the latter beginning on September 20.
"Of course my boys did not play well; they did not have the energy to win duels and did not display commitment when defending. They crapped their pants, which is our main problem. Only in the second half they matched the opponents; they have to learn that when their opponents play rough, they need to play rough as well. That's how you play football.
"But I'm not worried, you have to understand that they've been playing in a lot of matches; six games to be exact. It's just a part of the preparations so the boys can adapt to the cycle (during the AFC finals) of two days of rest and then matchday. It's good that they lost, now they can understand that they cannot avoid playing a physical game," explained the former Malaysia international.
Teong Kim is also confident of his charges; to the extent that he will not take the squad's first team to the AFF Championship which will kick off on July 29 in Indonesia.
"This year's championship is a chance for the reserve players to gain experience; so they can come back and help the squad (in the AFC finals). You could tell for yourselves in the match just now, who have been playing in four or five matches and who haven't.
"I've figured out who the key players will be in the AFC finals, while the rest of the 45-player squad have what it takes to compete in the AFF finals," noted the former Bayern Munich youth coach.
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