Malaysia U-16 too can emulate U-23 giant-slaying feats, says Hariz

Zulhilmi Zainal
Malaysia U-16 skipper Hariz Mansor is raring to take to the pitch to prove what they are made of, in the AFC U-16 Championship.

BY        ZULHILMI ZAINAL       Follow on Twitter

After much anticipation, it all begins tomorrow.

Hosts Malaysia U-16 will kick off the 2018 AFC U-16 Championship on Thursday, with their Group A match against Tajikistan U-16 at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium. 

The Young Tigers, comprising youth footballers from the government-run National Football Development Programme (NFDP) and coached by its project director Lim Teong Kim, have been given the objective of qualifying for the 2019 U-17 World Cup, as semi-finalists of the AFC tournament. 

Team captain Hariz Mansor is raring to take to the pitch to prove what they are made of.

Speaking to the press before undergoing final training at the Malaysian FA headquarters on Wednesday, he provided his thoughts on playing at the highest stage in the continent. 

"I can't wait to go out there, we've been preparing for it for the past four years. We want to do our best.

"We don't have any outstanding strengths to rely on against Tajikistan, but tomorrow we will take to the pitch with a lot of heart, leaving nothing behind. The coach has imparted everything he knows, now it's our turn to put it into fruition.

"We are the hosts, our families will also be watching at the stadium, and these will definitely motivate us further. We in turn will do our best in order to make Malaysia proud.

When asked by Goal whether the improvements shown by their Malaysia U-23 seniors in the past year, to produce upsets against competition favourites, are something that they can emulate, the 16-year old player responded with a resounding 'yes'.

"Of course we can do that. We've been preparing for a long time, so, yes, we can. No problem."

Malaysia kick off the competition against Tajikistan at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium on Thursday, with kick-off at 4.30 pm Malaysian time. Tickets for matches involving Malaysia are priced from RM10 (around USD2.5).

The full tournament fixtures can be viewed and downloaded from here.


Read more on Malaysia U-16 and the tournament.

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