BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
Following the end of his stint with Selangor last year, former Red Giants youth and senior teams head coach Maniam Pachaiappan is currently with the government-run National Football Development Programme (NFDP) as a coach.
And most recently, he has been seconded to the Malaysian FA (FAM) as the Malaysia U-15 head coach, at least for the duration of the invitational tournament Jockey Club International Youth 2019 in Hong Kong later this month, which the team will take part in. Since the past few years, Malaysia U-15/16 players are picked from the pool of NFDP trainees.
When met by the press before conducting training on Friday, Maniam disclosed his main objective for the upcoming tournament.
"We had a pool of 42 players which we then whittled down to 22. They'll play in one friendly match, after which the number will be finalised to 20 for the competition.
"Our target is to get good results in the first two games, but we don't want to get too ambitious. I just want the players to play well; to see them utilise build-up plays, to observe whether our formations suit them, and to see their individual awareness when defending and in attack.
"So far the boys have shown good commitment and cooperation when playing. They've shown positivity too; they'll try to put in practice what the coaches teach them and try to stick to the tactics," said the 50-year old trainer.
When asked by Goal whether there is pressure on the coaching staff to qualify to the 2020 AFC U-16 Championship finals, following the recent failure of their U-23 seniors, Maniam admitted it, but insisted that they are adamant on protecting the boys from undue pressure.
"There is pressure on us, the coaching staff, and we do dream of qualifying for the junior World Cup. But we cannot make excessive demands from the players, they're only fifteen.
"We can't tell them 'you have to win', we have to motivate them the right way instead, to get them to play better. It's all about the mindset and we have to tackle it differently," said the former Malaysia international.
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