2018 is a big year for youth football and like many others in the region, Malaysia will be involved in plenty of tournaments starting with the AFF U-19 Championship that will kick-off in Surabaya, Indonesia on July 3.
Malaysia are in Group B together with Myanmar, Cambodia, Timore Leste and Brunei in what looked a very favourable draw for the Young Tigers. In the 2017 edition, Malaysia finished top of the group ahead of Thailand but lost to the latter when the two met again in the final.
One player that featured in the same tournament and will still be going for the tournament this year is Johor Darul Ta'zim II's Hadi Fayyadh. The lanky striker scored three goals in the competition last year and will be looking to help the team reach the final once again.
"That was a good lesson to learn and hopefully this year we can be better. With this longer preparation, I'm hopeful we can achieve a better result. We are still preparing to build up the team."
"We still 3 more friendly matches before the trip to Indonesia. We will do our best and hopefully we can achieve the objective of reaching the final," said Hadi after an FAM Grassroots events held at Kidzania on Saturday.
Hadi will be going into the tournament this time after one year of more game time in the Malaysia Premier League as well as having the experience of being part of the Malaysia U-23 squad that reached the quarterfinals of the 2018 AFF U-23 Championship earlier this year.
Under Bojan Hodak's guidance, Hadi will be aiming to be part of the first Malaysian team to win the competition, having seen the country finishing runnersup five times. The tournament also serves as a pre-cursor to the AFC U-19 Championship that will also be held in Indonesia.
In the continental version, Malaysia are in Group D together with Saudi Arabia, China and Tajikistan. That tournament is scheduled to kick-off in October 2018.